Volume 27 Issue 3 - December 2021 / January 2022


Many Happy Returns: the rebirth of Massey Hall -- from venue to hub; music theatre's re-emergence from postponement limbo; pianist Vikingur Ólafsson's return visit to to "Glenn Gould's hometown"; guest writer music librarian Gary Corrin is back from his post behind the scenes in the TSO library; Music for Change returns to 21C; and here we all are again! Welcome back. Fingers crossed, here we go.

Volume 27 No 3





Music by date, live

and livestreamed

Stories & interviews

Record reviews,

listening room

On October 21, 2021, Bruce Liu was

named the first Canadian winner of the

International Fryderyk Chopin Piano

Competition in Warsaw. Now, a new

album of highlights – made live during

various stages of the competition – is

available to download & stream.

CD available

January 7, 2022

Angèle Dubeau

& La Pietà

Kronos Quartet

Morgan-Paige Melbourne

Eve Egoyan

Tanya Tagaq

Gould’s Wall









Wed., Jan. 12, 8pm / Thurs., Jan. 13, 6pm /

Fri, Jan. 14,8pm / Sat., Jan. 15, 10:30pm /

Sun., Jan. 16, 6pm RCM ATRIUM



Sat., Jan. 15, 8pm KOERNER HALL





Tues., Jan. 18, 8pm KOERNER HALL







special guest appearance


Fri., Jan. 21, 8pm KOERNER HALL


Sat., Jan. 22, 5pm TEMERTY THEATRE


Sat., Jan. 22, 8pm KOERNER HALL



Sun., Jan. 23, 3pm KOERNER HALL



Fri., Feb. 25, 8pm KOERNER HALL

TICKETS: 416.408.0208 RCMUSIC.COM/21C #21Cmusic





2703_Dec_cover.indd 1

2021-11-30 2:53 PM

Volume 27 No 3 | December 10 2021January 20, 2021


Volume 27 No 3





Music by date, live

and livestreamed

Stories & interviews

Record reviews,

listening room



Getting to this milestone moment has

been a long and challenging journey.

When we closed our doors in the

summer of 2018, nobody could have

predicted what fate had in store.

— Jesse Kumagai, page 8

ACD2 2854

The Road to Christmas is

Bernard Labadie’s deeply

personal reflection on

the meaning of Christmas.

8 FOR OPENERS | Many Happy




Ana Sokolović | LYDIA PEROVIĆ

12 MUSIC THEATRE | Emerging

from postponement limbo as it

all comes alive again |




Ólafsson on Mozart, as

momentum builds toward 2022



Adversity to Advantage “Bach

Among Friends” | GARY CORRIN

ACD2 2426

ART CHORAL, a unique and

ambitious project surveying the

history of choral singing over six

centuries, from the Renaissance

to the present day.


G R I G O R I A N . C O M

The WholeNote


WholeNote Media Inc.

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Concert & Event Advertising / Membership | Karen Ages


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single copies and back issues $8

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Scott, Bruce Surtees, Andrew Timar, Yoshi Maclear

Wall, Ken Waxman, Matthew Whitfield



20 IN WITH THE NEW | Music

for change - Kronos and

Tacaq return to 21C |



JAZZ | What a difference a

year makes! | COLIN STORY


great era of Canadian

pianism” Reflecting on the

flags we fly | ROBERT HARRIS

62 BACK IN FOCUS | Previously

covered, topical again | STAFF


24 Events by date

30 Available online

Blogs, pods & regular streams

31 In the Clubs (mostly Jazz)

32 Classified Ads

33 The WholeNote Online Directories (index)

Blue Pages for 2021-2022

Directory of Music Makers and Arts Services




34 Editor’s Corner | DAVID OLDS

36 Strings Attached |


38 Vocal

39 Classical and Beyond

41 Modern and Contemporary

46 Jazz and Improvised Music

51 Pot Pourri

53 Something in the Air |


54 Old Wine, New Bottles |


55 Other Fine Vintages

56 New in the Listening Room,



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[David] - welcome back to [Massey Hall]!

My name is [Jesse Kumagai], I am the [President and CEO] of [Massey

Hall and Roy Thomson Hall] a [charitable non-profit organization] and I

want to tell you about [last night].

[Last evening], [2,500 thrilled Torontonians] gathered in the [Allan

Slaight Auditorium] – a space that has brought us together for [more than

127 years.]

Getting to this milestone moment has been a long and challenging journey.

When we closed our doors [in the summer of 2018], nobody could have

predicted [what fate had in store.]

Because in March of 2020, the world changed.

The pandemic had a significant impact on our [project], stopping

[construction] for an extended period of time, then making it so much more

challenging when we resumed. It increased [the cost], interrupted our [fundraising],

and delayed [our completion] – all while [Roy Thomson Hall sat

dark, our business halted in its tracks]. The fact we [opened last night] is

something of a minor miracle.

Truthfully, there are a few elements that [are not quite finished], and

under the circumstances, we could have [postponed our reopening]. But the

pandemic also made us all appreciate just how important [cultural events

like this] are to the fabric of our society. And as we [return to the life we

once knew], this moment has taken on an entirely new significance. Nothing

was going to deter us from [welcoming you back] and who better than

[legendary Gordon Lightfoot] to [perform at Massey Hall’s reopening.]

So I hope you’ll [forgive our imperfections], and know that in due course,

[every last detail will be brought up to the standard Massey Hall deserves].

And in the coming months, we will be [opening more performance venues],

and [spaces for music education, community groups, and of course,

artists], to realize the promise of [Allied Music Centre.]

But for now, I want to thank [you all]. I want to thank you for being part of

our journey, and our community. You make it all worthwhile.

Let’s make some [new memories at Massey!]

Here’s the thing. I hope you get a bit of a chuckle,

or a smile anyway, out of the adjacent treatment of Jesse

Kumagai’s heartfelt words, via email, on the occasion

of the recent re-opening of Massey Hall. But I hope just

as hard that the chuckle isn’t cynical. Because that’s

not where I am coming from. It’s hard for me to find

anything to be spiteful about here.

What’s not to like, for example, about main floor

seating which can be slid under the stage transforming

bums-in-plush-seats conventional concert attendance for

those who desire it, into standing room for those audiences

who cannot imagine being comfortable not moving

to the music?

As Marianne McKenna principal architect of the loving

and visionary restoration/renovation put it during a

sneak peek guided tour for EXCLAIM! the day before the

reopening: “[It’s] what “everybody” wants, but the other

part of the everybody, they want to sit down. So we can do

both. We’ve introduced adaptability, flexibility. This really

is a hall for the 21st century.”

And what’s not to like about the transformation of a

great hall into a great hub, as Kumagai described it, full of

“spaces for music education, community groups, and of

course, artists”?

Think about it. If the largest among us in the arts

ecosystem can opt for visionary transformation – from

concert hall to hub for community arts – then maybe we

are truly emerging into a time where support for that ideal

will, for once, filter all the way down. Can you imagine

some version of Kumagai’s message being delivered when

some not-to-distant big day dawns for an arts organization

or cause that in every way you are invested in?

I sure can!

David Perlman can be reached, for now anyway,

at publisher@thewholenote.com.

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8 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com


of happy

returns ...




It is with a growing sense of optimism that we continue to

welcome new and returning presenters to our Blue Pages

directory, as their plans firm up for the calendar year ahead.

Take a look at the index to our BLUE PAGES DIRECTORY OF

MUSIC MAKERS on page 33, which keeps growing issue by

issue. Full profiles can be found at thewholenote.com/blue.

All in all, there’s a growing sense of hope and new beginnings, coupled

with a pragmatism in regard to maintaining a safe approach to

performing. Here’s just a taste, from profiles recently added:

“After ‘going to ground’ for most of 2019/20,” writes Nine Sparrows

Arts Foundation, “in cooperation with Yorkminster Park Baptist

Church, we return this December with a virtual presentation of City

Carol Sing 2021, and a plan to resume our Tuesday Lunchtime Chamber

Music series in January 2022.”

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will “continue to offer a range of

performance options, from a much anticipated return to in-person

concerts at Roy Thomson Hall and the George Weston Recital Hall to a

continuation of virtual concerts streamed throughout the season.”

“After a year of virtual rehearsals,” Etobicoke Centennial Choir

announces, “our dedicated choristers have returned to safely and

joyfully harmonizing together in person ... We are planning a virtual

streamed concert in December, including Saint-Saëns’ Christmas

Oratorio, with a return to live performances in 2022.”

Some are concentrating for now on consolidating the online gains

forced on them by pandemic necessity. “In November 2020, The

Toronto Consort launched Early Music TV – an all-new video-ondemand

service dedicated to music from 1100-1700 AD. Early Music TV

offers feature-length productions, behind-the-scenes documentaries,

and extensive video and audio libraries.”

And if you’re looking for something to do on New Year’s Day,

Attila Glatz Concert Productions’ “energetic, lighthearted, and

full-of-romance Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert … celebrates

the limitless possibilities each New Year brings.”

And so say all of us.

If you’re a music presenter or arts services organization, there’s still

time to join our Blue Pages directory. To celebrate a new year that

is a new beginning in more ways than one, in our next print edition

(January 21 2022) we’ll publish a consolidated directory of all profiles

received by January 6, 2022. For details on how to join contact

Karen Ages at members@thewholenote.com

Thursday January 13 at 8 pm

Juilliard Quartet

Tuesday January 25 at 8 pm


Benelli Mosell

Tickets: 416-366-7723

option 2

27 Front Street East, Toronto

| music-toronto.com

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 9


“It’s a necessity,



Ana Sokolović



It’s only when you leave a country – a culture, a

language, a family – that you can really see it. And

it’s only then that you can consciously, rather than by

inertia, belong to it.

This wisdom comes to most immigrants, expats and refugees by

mid-life, but it came to Montreal-based composer Ana Sokolović early

in her career, after the first performance of her music in her new

country. “Critics described my music as having ‘Slavic soul,’ which

stunned me. ‘Slavic soul’?! I’m a contemporary, avant-garde composer,

I thought, I’m as far from any kind of national folklore and nostalgia

as possible,” she recalls. When she moved to Montreal to work on her

master’s degree in the early 1990s, Yugoslavia, in which she grew up,

the multicultural egalitarian experiment, was already disintegrating in

ethno-nationalist acrimony, and she was eager to say goodbye to the

rising ethnocentrism. The point for her was to say something new, not

blindly follow the established tradition. But the talk of Slavic flair back

then got her thinking about whether she was entirely in control of her

own sound-making, or if something else voiced itself in the process,

something less conscious. “I realized the local audience detected a

certain openness to emotion that they translated as ‘Slavic soulfulness’.

Crucially, I realized that it wasn’t a bad thing. And that perhaps I

should bring it to light more.”

We are sitting in her quiet home in Montreal, our only other

company her Siamese cat sleeping in a patch of sun on the windowsill.

Svadba-Wedding was about to be performed the following week

by a young ensemble from Toronto’s Glenn Gould School – her much

travelled a cappella opera that uses idioms of Balkan singing techniques

and South Slav language phonemes but is musically more like

dissonant, rhythm-addled Stravinsky than the Balkans. “It’s only

when I physically removed myself from my place of birth that I understood

this conversation between tradition and invention,” she says.

It’s nothing to do with genes, she says. It’s to do with different spices

of how to be in the world. The dialects of humankind. It’s like keeping

Occitan in Languedoc alongside French, and not subsuming it under

it. “Imagine if the only thing that divided us was this difference in

style, the variety in the taste of the terroir? And religions would be

there just to serve this cultural side of us. Just so we could sing to God

in all kinds of idioms.”

Toronto. Pittsburgh and Opera Philadelphia. Perm with Teo

Curentzis. Montreal. Boston. Aix-en-Provence. And Belgrade, of

course. Svadba is probably the most performed Canadian opera of

the last two decades. Sure, it’s small and inexpensive, emotionally

communicative, visceral as a pagan ritual. All that helps. But that still

doesn’t explain its popularity. How does she explain it? “It’s mad, isn’t

it? But I think part of it is that a wedding is a near-universal experience

and a universally understood phenomenon. But here it’s told

through a very local perspective. That quote attributed to Tolstoy, ‘If

you want to be universal, start by painting your own village?’ It’s

that.” And people of all ethnicities have found something in the scenes

in which six girlfriends prepare one of them for the wedding.

Before she embarked on Svadba, her second commission by Queen

of Puddings Music Theatre in the late noughts, Sokolović travelled back

to Belgrade to talk to ethnomusicologists about old South Slav rituals

associated with female preparation for weddings. Some of these rituals

she included (the henna painting, the weaving of the wreaths), some

she didn’t find particularly inspiring (breadmaking). Some would

have been inherited from the long Ottoman colonization (the bathing/

hammam, and here Svadba doesn’t shy away from eroticism).

What also made Svadba so easy to follow is, paradoxically, that it’s

in the original language. “When I composed The Midnight Court for

Queen of Puddings, I needed to make the story legible. The pace is

decided by the text: the opera must unfold at the speed of the text,

and must follow our understanding of the text. After that, I wanted to

create something where no individual words needed to be understood

– everything would be understood through music.” And while many

South Slav and Serbian words are used in Svadba, a lot of them are

exploded into syllables and phonemes, both vowels and consonants,

and used as purely musical tools. People generally understand what’s

going on, with or without the language, even in concert, she’s noticed.

“They understand the emotion.”

Some activities which are not traditionally associated with

weddings Sokolović introduced precisely for this musicality of words.

Nursery rhymes, pattycakes and the alphabet play an important role

in the opera. She also needed a dramatic peak, some kind of a scene of

conflict, which the night before a wedding usually does not have. But

what it has is the nerves – and the tension. So she played that up.

I tell her that I’ve noticed that people who have no interest in the

institution of marriage also find the opera powerful, because it’s

10 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com

clearly about a rite of passage – the change from girlhood to womanhood,

the leaving of childhood behind and moving to the unknown.

I’ve also found the music very dark, I tell her; it’s all those menacing

seconds, like Bluebeard’s Castle! And for women of the Balkans, and

many other places in the world, the wedding may or may not have

been a joyful event, depending on how they may or may not have been

treated by the new family. “I get that,” she says. “It’s that complexity of

feeling: the joy and the sadness. I mean, how do you explain the word

seta in English? Something like Portuguese saudade? Sadness, but of

a pleasant kind? There is no seta in Svadba I don’t think, but there are

ambivalent feelings.”

She pauses for a few beats. “It all probably comes from the

Mediterranean carnival. An occasion for ambivalent feelings, if there ever

was one! It’s the films of Kusturica, Fellini, Buñuel. You’re happy and

you’re sad.” Milica is not sad because she’s about to get married, but her

leaving is. “She is never going to be the same person. There’s a line in the

opera, ‘Your mother will cry.’ Of course. We cry at weddings. My mother

cried on my first day of school. A new chapter opens. It’s not quite clear

why we cry at rites of passage, but we do! And this speaks to people,

whether we get married or not, whether we are female or male.”

Doesn’t contemporary music have something of a PR problem,

though, I ask? It’s often dastardly to sing – some composers have no

interest in writing voice-friendly stuff. It’s unemotional (the worst thing

is to be a Puccini – like the well-funded American composers end up

being). It doesn’t see itself in the business of giving pleasure. It’s often

written by people who teach at universities and effectively compose for

tenure. Those who work in the tradition of serialism never see a second

performance – and probably for a good reason. Scratch that: most don’t

experience a second performance. I’ve been to contemporary music

concerts with four people in the audience; but as long as the grants

from peers are coming down, the small contemporary music organization

has nothing to worry about. Am I wrong?

“We are in 2021, though. A lot has happened and keeps happening

from the time that serialism, or dodécaphonie in French, was major

news,” she says. “There isn’t one thing, one school, with or against

which we all have to define ourselves. There are a lot of branches on the

tree. Schoenberg and Boulez had to exist. We are continuing on, but

in different ways. There is a divide in classical music in that there is an

audience that only listens to contemporary, and a usually older audience

which prefers the traditional works of the Western canon. But

imagine if there was a museum of anything that stops at the Romantic

Age. It would be a strange museum, no?” And the contemporary vs. the

traditional is a particularly sharp divide in music. In other art forms –

visual, theatre, novels – it’s much less present, she adds.

Are we talking about the modernists? I probe. Does modernism

Alexander Dobson and Krisztina Szabó in Ana Sokolović’s Midnight

Court – commissioned by Queen of Puddings Music Theatre and

premiered at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, June, 2005.

in music exist as a tradition now, or is it still a project? And does it

even matter – is this something that only interests academics and

critics, and the audience not in the least? Does Canada even have any

modernists? I love Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, which I presume is in

that tradition, but John Weinzweig, for example, is not performed any

more anywhere, and having tried some of the recordings, I can’t say

I’m too sad about it.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m one or not – most people

would say that I’m not,” she says. “But those boundaries are all

Continues on page 58










MAY 6–21





Single tickets go on sale

January 11, 2022


thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 11


Emerging from


limbo as it all

comes alive again


A Christmas Carol

For lovers of musical theatre, there is something

uniquely magical about the holiday season this

year as the world of live performance starts coming

back into its own, including all the usual holiday

entertainments we had to forgo last year, while we safely

stayed home.

Nutcrackers and Scrooges

Live performances of The Nutcracker are returning, from the

grand scale of the National Ballet of Canada’s perennial favourite

at the Four Seasons Centre to the smaller-scale beloved production

of the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement, with

a legacy almost as long as the National Ballet’s. There is even a new

entrant on the scene which straddles the line between live and

digital: Lighthouse Immersive’s Immersive Nutcracker is similar to

their Van Gogh and Klimt programs, enveloping an audience within

four bare walls on which is created a projected world – in this case,

a shortened 40-minute version of The Nutcracker, part ballet, and

part animation, fuelled by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. Audiences are

free to roam and even dance along, which seemed to delight some of

the children who were there when I was.

Another returning holiday tradition is the many and varied stage

adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I had the great

treat of attending for the first time the opening performance of The

Shaw Festival’s version, adapted, and originally directed, by artistic

director Tim Carroll, and this year directed by (former assistant

director) Molly Atkinson. What was revealed to us in the cozy intimate

setting of the Royal George Theatre was an intrinsically theatrical

but also surprisingly musical version of the beloved transformation

story: confirmed miser and hater-of-all-things-Christmas, Ebeneezer

Scrooge metamorphosing into a spirit of joyous generosity. The show

opens with a group of very tuneful carollers who not only set the

scene and get the story started but pop up throughout to punctuate

the action and to round everything off with what would – in

non-COVID-wary times – be a group singalong with the audience.

There is a magical spirit of theatrical inventiveness in this

production from the use of a front screen that resembles an outsize

Advent calendar – with windows to be cleverly opened and even

used as props – to one of the cleverest and most whimsical depictions

of the three Christmas ghosts that I have ever seen.

Holiday Inn

I left the Royal George Theatre filled with the joy of the story

and the season, and ready to see Shaw’s other holiday offering,

the full-scale stage version of Irving Berlin’s musical Holiday Inn.

Over at the Shaw’s main Festival Theatre, Holiday Inn lives up to

its desire to be a postcard to the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals

and the light-hearted optimism of post-war America, transporting

the audience to a time that is (mostly) free from care. Director

Kate Hennig and choreographer Allison Plamondon have created

a lively sweet show that combines a full, spirited performance of

an admittedly lightweight book with wonderful song and dance

numbers that embrace the full range required, from quiet emotional

moments to a full-scale extravaganza leading to a happy Hollywood

ending and joyful applause in the audience.

New year, real beginning

The fall saw companies very slowly getting their live-performance

feet wet again in the world of relaxing pandemic protocols. Looking

ahead, the new year, 2022, feels like a real beginning – not just of

the calendar year but also of the performing arts season. The release

from postponement limbo of shows we have all been waiting to see

means that there will be a cornucopia of music theatre delights,

many premieres among them, to choose from. Already my calendar

is starting to fill up with shows that I know I don’t want to miss.

One that I am particularly excited about is the world premiere of

librettist Liza Balkan and composer Brian Current’s Gould’s Wall

for Tapestry Opera exploring the theme of seeking perfection in

the arts – and promising a literally wall-climbing physicality – in a

production to be directed by Obsidian Theatre’s Philip Akin in his

opera debut.


12 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com

Holiday Inn

Immersive Nutcracker

Another is the longed-for Canadian premiere of the musical stage

version of Emma Donoghue’s Room at the Grand Theatre in London.

Cancelled in March 2020 the day before its official opening, it will

take place at last in January at the Grand, followed by a longer

run in Toronto, starting in February at the intimate CAA (formerly

Panasonic) Theatre on Yonge Street. Room is a dark story with a

redemptive theme that many will be familiar with from the bestselling

novel and film starring Brie Larson. This (newly revised) stage

version which had its world premiere in London, England, in 2017,

is also a musical with songs co-written by director Cora Bissett and

Scottish singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph. Word of mouth reports

from the previews in 2020 say that Alexis Gordon leads a wonderful

cast in a brilliantly constructed show that explores the triumph of

the human spirit over an unbearable situation.

The Mirvish slate is full of other shows I want to see, but the one

that goes on my calendar first is the main stage debut in January of

Canadian Jake Epstein’s autobiographical Boy Falls from the Sky,

a show I loved at the Toronto Fringe back in 2019. This show is a

musical theatre lover’s treat, as Epstein takes us on his unexpected

journey: from singing along to Broadway show albums on family

road trips to New York; to appearing in Canadan TV hit Degrassi; to

finding himself starring in Broadway shows such as Spider-Man and

Beautiful. The Mirvish season also includes the return in the spring

of 2 Pianos 4 Hands starring its creators and original stars, Ted

Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt.

One of my favourite recurring events at Soulpepper is the series

of concerts masterminded by director of music Mike Ross. Year over

year it inventively combines story with song, incorporating many

different styles of music along the way and showcasing some of

Toronto’s most exciting talent. This coming February, for example,

Soulpepper launches its season with a new concert, “The Golden

Record”, conceived by Ross and inspired by a recording NASA sent

out into space to explain Earth to extraterrestrial life. “The Golden

Record” will feature the talents of Divine Brown, Beau Dixon, Raha

Javanfar, tap dancer Travis Knights, Andrew Penner, Mike Ross,

Sarah Wilson and Strays star Frank Cox-O’Connell, who also directs.

And leaping ahead to June, I am looking forward – at last – to

seeing how Karen Kain will reimagine Swan Lake for the National

Ballet. As a longtime fan of the Erik Bruhn version that featured a

female sorceress as opposed to the traditional male sorcerer (von

Rothbart), who returned in the current James Kudelka version, I am

particularly interested in what Kain will do with this role.

All this, and it’s early days still! The Musical Stage Company, for

example, has not yet announced anything official for the new year

other than continuing development projects, but I am still hoping

to hear that Sara Farb and Britta Johnson’s musical Kelly v. Kelly

(based on a real life story of the mother and daughter court battle

over tango dancing) will get its world premiere soon, perhaps later

this year? In the meantime, I am intrigued to excited to see what

new musicals will be nurtured through First Drafts, the Musical

Stage Company’s new musical theatre development partnership

with the Canadian Musical Theatre Project at Sheridan College in

which final-year students at the college will have the opportunity to

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 13

work with professional creative teams on early drafts of new shows,

showcasing the results for audiences at the end of the school year.


Lots to enjoy to celebrate the upcoming holidays, and even more to

look forward to..


It’s A Wonderful Life

Ólafsson on

Mozart, as

momentum builds

toward 2022

NOV 9 to DEC 23: A Christmas Carol. Royal George Theatre,

Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake. shawfest.com LIVE

NOV 14 to DEC 23: Holiday Inn. Festival Theatre, Shaw

Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake. shawfest.com LIVE

FROM NOV 20: Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle.

Lighthouse Immersive, One Yonge Street. immersivenutcracker.com

DEC 10,11,17,18: It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

GD Productions, the Villa Lucia Supper Club, Ottawa. A live

radio play performance of the classic film script adapted by Joe

Landry, with pianist Nicolas Code underscoring scenes and

playing transition music, along with live foley and sound effects

throughout. iawl.eventbrite.ca LIVE

NOW to JAN 2: Touch. Created by

Guillaume Côté and Thomas Payette.

Lighthouse Immersive, One Yonge

Street. Due to technical difficulties on

the night I was there, I only had the

chance to see ten minutes, one pas de

deux, of this fully immersive dance

show, but it was so good, such an

exciting mix of live dance and projected

background that I can’t

wait to see the rest.

lighthouseimmersive.com/touch LIVE

DEC 10 to 31: The Nutcracker. National Ballet of Canada,

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts,

www.national.ballet.ca LIVE

DEC 10 to 12: Wintersong. Canadian Contemporary Dance

Theatre, Fleck Theatre (Harbourfront). Celebrating 33 years of

illuminating the solstice through dance with a world premiere

by Rodney Diverlus and the stage premiere of Alyssa Martin’s

Star Seed. ccdt.org LIVE


DEC 18 & 19: 2021 Nutcracker. Pia Bouman School of Ballet and

Creative Movement. piaboumanschool.org LIVE & Livestreamed.

JAN 8 to 30: Boy Falls From The Sky. Mirvish Productions. CAA

(formerly the Panasonic) Theatre. mirvish.com LIVE

JAN 12 to 16: Gould’s Wall. Tapestry Opera, part of the Royal

Conservatory’s 21C New Music Festival, performed in the RCM

atrium. rcmusic.com/events LIVE

JAN 11 to 28: Room. Grand Theatre, London grandtheatre.com/

event/room. North American premiere. LIVE

FEB 6 to APR 10: Room. CAA Theatre, Toronto. mirvish.com LIVE

Jennifer Parr is a Toronto-based director, dramaturge, fight

director and acting coach, brought up from a young age on a

rich mix of musicals, Shakespeare and new Canadian plays.



Vikingur Ólafsson’s Toronto debut was in 2014 –

when I heard him play the Goldberg Variations at

the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre and speak

about how thrilled he was to be performing in Glenn

Gould’s hometown. Since then, the 37-year-old Icelandic

pianist has released critically acclaimed recordings for

Deutsche Grammophon (works by Glass, J.S. Bach and

Rameau/Debussy) and has been named Gramophone

magazine’s 2019 Artist of the Year. His Toronto return –

to Koerner Hall on January 13 – finds him performing his

just-released CD, Mozart & His Contemporaries.

What follows is largely gleaned from Martin Cullingford’s April 20,

2020 story in Gramophone, Katherine Cooper’s interview in Presto

Music, April 9, 2021 and an EPK interview for Deutsche Grammophon

coincident with the release of his newest recording.

“When I play Mozart I often feel like the ink has just dried on the

page,” Ólafsson said on the DG website. “Despite the fact that the

music was written 230 to 240 years ago, Mozart seems to reflect your

innermost core.” On the DG site, he describes playing Mozart since

he was five or six years old; one of his most vivid memories from

his musical childhood is of playing the C Major sonata which is on

his new DG recording (and in his upcoming Toronto recital). “It’s so

serene, it’s almost impossible to play it,” he said. “It’s so perfect by

itself that you almost dare not touch it – it’s like holding a newborn

child – it’s so fragile, the beauty of it, that you just marvel at it. Mozart

was so above us – what he did was so perfect.”

In the Gramophone interview, Ólafsson told Cullingford that Evgeny

Kissin and Glenn Gould were early obsessions, followed by musicians

of an older generation – Edwin Fischer, Benno Moiseiwitsch,

Josef Hofmann, Clara Haskil, Dinu Lipatti, Emil Gilels and the young

Vladimir Horowitz. “I think all the ones that I love are masters of

sound. They’re hugely different individuals, but they have something

in common which is that they layer things, they create this dimension

in the piano sound which is, really, the only way that a piano can

sound beautiful in my opinion.”

14 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com


Víkingur Ólafsson

Elsewhere, in the booklet notes to Ólafsson’s recent Bach album

(which won two BBC music awards including Record of the Year in

2019), he wrote: “We performers must weigh our knowledge of period

style against our individual and inescapably contemporary sensibility.”

When that’s acknowledged and accepted, he told Cullingford, “What’s

left is a liberating freedom. It’s like my manifesto. I really feel that. I

see all music as contemporary music, I don’t make a distinction. If we

play the music of Rameau today we play it, inevitably, so differently

from the way it has sounded before – certainly in his time, when he

had nothing close to the modern piano, and when the horse was the

fastest means of transport. But because we are reinventing the music,

obviously it is contemporary. It is new music.”

Ólafsson’s love of recording owes a unique debt to his Icelandic

childhood. “I think it has something to do with the fact that my

exposure to music was limited growing up here in the 1990s. It was

very different from how it is now, and it certainly wasn’t as easy to fly

abroad, either. If I were growing up right now my dad would probably

just fly me to London or wherever to see whatever I wanted to see.

But that wasn’t the case then, and so I became a huge CD collector.

And I didn’t do any competitions – that was very far away from my

mentality – and so I didn’t have any exposure to what students my

age were doing. I had no yardstick to measure myself against except

through recordings.”

Ólafsson’s parents instilled in him a sense of the profound value

of music, Cullingford writes. When he was born, they were living in

a tiny apartment in Berlin, making ends meet. But when they then

inherited some money, they chose to spend it on a Steinway. The piano

moved with them to Iceland, becoming a cherished and dominant

presence in their small basement flat.

As to why he chose to focus on the music of Mozart’s last decade?

“Simply because I think it shows us Mozart at his best,” Ólafsson

told Katherine Cooper. “There’s a reason why 85 or 90% of what we

hear in concert today by Mozart is from the 1780s. This last decade in

Mozart’s life is one of the most incredible decades in music history

for any composer, both on a personal and a musical level. In 1781 he

discovered the music of J.S. Bach – by accident almost, in a library in

Vienna – and his own music would never be the same. He was really

delving deeply into Bach study during this period, and you hear that

clearly on this album. And at the same time he was going through this

astonishing transformation from being the prodigy of all prodigies to

being a mature musician: by his mid-20s he no longer has that free

card of being the boy wonder, and he’s facing a lot of difficulties with

the musical establishment of his day. He wouldn’t bow down to the

pressures of the aristocracy; he always played his own game, and in a

certain sense he was a wild card as a person.”

Regional and community orchestras

Now that the TSO has made a triumphant return, it’s time to pivot

towards the GTA’s community orchestras. The Mississauga Symphony

Orchestra began their 50th season – and music director Denis

Mastromonaco’s eighth season – on November 20 with “A Triumphant

Return,” a program of orchestral favourites. The concert included

Autumn from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (concertmaster Corey

Gemmell, violin soloist), the fourth movement of Mendelssohn’s

“Reformation” symphony, Mozart’s Overture to the Marriage of Figaro

(Miranda Brant, guest conductor) and Beethoven’s iconic Symphony

No.5. It’s the first step leading to their 50th Anniversary Celebration

on June 4, 2022 – complete repertoire to be released shortly.

The Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra season opened on

November 5 – available to stream on YouTube via the orchestra’s

website – with a guided tour of the EPO led by music director Matthew


Carols by Candlelight


Carol arrangements and original compositions by David Willcocks,

John Rutter, Randall Thompson, Geoffrey Bush and Malcom Sargent.

Nine Lessons & Carols


Carols by Mark Sirett, Healey Willan, Philip Ledger, Edgar Pettman,

Herbert Howells and William Walton.

Soloists & Section Leads of Yorkminster Park Baptist Church Choir,

William Maddox, conductor, Sharon L. Beckstead, organist

YORKMINSTER PARK BAPTIST CHURCH | 1585 Yonge Street | YorkminsterPark.com

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 15


Conrad Chow

Denis Mastromonaco


Jones that culminated in a performance of Schubert’s Symphony No.8

“Unfinished.” They plan to close the season in June with an extravagant

Diamond Anniversary Gala celebrating their 60th anniversary.

The Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra reaches the midpoint

of their season on December 11 at 8pm, with guest conductor Martin

MacDonald. Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s The Hockey Sweater

and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite provide seasonal treats while

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with 20-year-old violin soloist Eva

Lesage, delivers the melodic heft of an evergreen classic.

The Kindred Spirits Orchestra season continues on December 18,

with music director Kristian Alexander leading the orchestra in

Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, a musical travelogue of the composer’s

journey to Rome. Violinist Conrad Chow performs Korngold’s

lyrical, virtuosic and underrated Violin Concerto before the orchestra

takes on Shostakovich’s enigmatic Symphony No.15, his final

symphony that’s full of musical references to the composer’s life and

work as well as works by others.

Chamber orchestra, Sinfonia Toronto, continues its busy season

with three concerts. On December 10 in the Jane Mallett Theatre,

musical director Nurhan Arman leads the group in celebrating

Beethoven’s birthday with a performance of his Symphony No.8.

Arman’s chamber orchestra version is based on a historic string

quintet arrangement by Sigmund Anton Steiner (1773-1838).

The evening’s program opens with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s

Fantasiestücke and Chopin’s seductive Piano Concerto No.1, with

soloist Dmitri Levkovich. In their return to the Jane Mallett Theatre on

January 21, Sinfonia performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.22 K482,

one of his finest; Jocelyn Morlock’s shout-out to Milan Kundera’s The

Unbearable Lightness of Being; Joseph Bologne’s Quartet in D Major,

Op.1, No.6; and Jaňácek’s Suite for Strings, featuring his homeland’s

“beguiling folk melodies.”

Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society (KWCMS)

The KWCMS continues to successfully navigate the pandemic

waters. Not presenting concerts in their beloved Music Room – they’re

using Waterloo’s First United Church instead – hasn’t prevented the

Penderecki String Quartet from finishing a traversal of Beethoven’s

string quartets with performances of the last two, Op.131 (arguably

the greatest) and Op.135 on December 16 (the program is repeated two

days later) as well as the alternate final movement to Op.130.

Rising star Kerson Leong performs a solo violin recital on January 9,

with two sonatas by Ysayë, Schubert’s Erlkönig and Bach’s Sonata No.1

and Partita No.2 with its famous Chaconne (books have been written).

And on January 16 pianist Michael Lewin leaves his Boston home base

where he heads the piano department of The Boston Conservatory at

Berklee to perform a technically challenging recital. Four sonatas by

Scarlatti lead off, followed by Beethoven’s highly compressed Sonata

No.22 Op.54 (written in the wake of the “Waldstein” Op.53), Franck’s

Prelude, Choral and Fugue, Busoni’s Carmen Fantasy and works by

Evencio Castellanos, Alberto Ginastera and Osvaldo Golijov.


A Child's Christmas

in Wales

Featuring Benedict Campbell,

reading the Dylan Thomas classic

Tuesday December 21

7:30 p.m.

Eglinton St-George's United Church

35 Lytton Blvd

For tickets and more information please visit


16 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com


Juilliard String Quartet

DEC 12, 3PM: Jan

Lisiecki makes his

sixth Koerner Hall

appearance with a rare

pairing of Chopin’s

Études Op.10 Nos. 1 to

12 with 11 Nocturnes

(all 20 of which

appear on Lisiecki’s

latest Deutsche

Grammophon recording). Read more about how the pianist

constructed his recital’s program in the November/December issue

of The WholeNote.

DEC 14, 7:30: The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

presents a livestream recital by the versatile pianist Philip Chiu

comprised of 21 preludes by Chopin, Debussy and John Burge

(written between 2011 and 2015) divided into seven groupings of

three preludes each by the three composers.

JAN 13, 8PM: Music Toronto’s 50th anniversary season continues

with a concert by the Juilliard String Quartet, who are celebrating

their 75th year. Mendelssohn’s last major composition, the Quartet

in F Minor, Op.80, written as he mourned his sister’s death, begins

their program, which also includes Jörg Widmann’s Quartet No.10

“Cavatina” (Study on Beethoven V) and Dvořák’s glorious String

Quartet in F Minor “American.”

JAN 22, 8PM: The Royal Conservatory presents the indefatigable

Danish String Quartet – as part of the 21C Music Festival – performing

Schubert’s String Quartet No. 15 as well as a new composition by

Bent Sørensen inspired by that same Schubert quartet. Also on the

program is a curated suite of dances by Marc-Antoine Charpentier,

John Adams and Felix Blumenfeld, which includes a new composition

written by the members of the Danish String Quartet.

JAN 25, 8PM: Known for her work with Stockhausen – as both

student and interpreter – the charismatic rising star Vanessa Benelli

Mosell made her Music Toronto debut at age 15 in 2002 in a twopiano

recital with the legendary French master Pascal Rogé, who

described her as “the most natural musical talent I have encountered

in my entire life.” For her return to the Jane Mallett stage,

Mosell will play Debussy’s second book of preludes followed by

music by Medtner, Nino Rota’s suite from Fellini’s Casanova and the

demanding Busoni version of Bach’s illustrious Chaconne.


Paul Ennis is the managing editor of The WholeNote.







Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

1585 Yonge Street | 416-922-1167

• Admission Free

• Donations Welcome

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 17


Adversity to


“Bach Among



“..., but Bach didn’t write a Bassoon Concerto!”

That was the reaction of the Toronto Symphony’s

principal bassoonist, Michael Sweeney, as he

related the story to me in May of this year. I’d had

a similar reaction somewhat earlier when the TSO’s

concertmaster, Jonathan Crow, emailed me a photo of a

CD jacket listing “Johann Sebastian Bach, Rediscovered

Wind Concertos” and asked, “How possible would it be

to get the parts for any of these?” Something unusual

was in the works.

As principal librarian of the

Toronto Symphony, I’ve often

thought that I have the greatest

job in the world for gaining

an appreciation of music.

After researching, sourcing,

acquiring and preparing those

printed pages from which

every musician on stage reads

(a process that usually takes

place over several months), I

hear all the rehearsals (where

the tricky spots are worked

out) and then the concerts. Of

Gary Corrin course, my listening takes place

over the sound monitor in the

TSO Library, while I’m working on music to be performed in the

months ahead. Best of all, I get to know the players. They all need to

practice those printed pages, so everyone comes to the library. As

I’m listening, I don’t just hear an instrument, I hear a person. It’s a


Bach among friends: gathered on the Grand Staircase in the west

lobby of Roy Thomson Hall. Back row (left to right): Sarah Jeffrey

(oboe), Leonie Wall (flute), Andrew McCandless (trumpet), Jonathan

Crow (violin), Michael Sweeney (bassoon) Second row (left to right):

Kelly Zimba Lukić (flute), Joseph Johnson (cello) Front row (left

to right): Amalia Joanou-Canzoneri (violin) and Chelsea Gu.

fantastic experience and I often ponder how I might share it with

our audience. This is a story about several of those players, their

friendships, and their regard for one another. It’s my privilege to

tell it – mostly in their own words.

In any normal year, the TSO would announce its events for the

coming season in February. The 2021-22 rollout was delayed as we,

like every arts organization, strategized around pandemic-gathering

restrictions. “How many musicians will we be able to put on stage?”

“Will we even be able to host a live audience?” “How long should the

concert be?” “Intermission?” and “What if the guest conductor from

Europe can’t get into the country?” These were the overriding questions

of the time. In the midst of it, Jonathan Crow came up with an

idea that turned adversity to advantage.

“The idea of a smaller-ensemble, player-led “All Bach” concert

at the TSO grew out of the extraordinary success of the Vivaldi,

Four Seasons project in the previous year,” explained Jonathan

(over the phone while on his elliptical machine – evidently time

management is among his many super powers). “But instead of just

one soloist – me – I wanted to showcase several members of our

orchestra. After all, they’re some of the best on their instruments

in the world. Nothing had really been decided when the pandemic

shut everything down, preventing any of us from gathering to

perform – so the whole program went into a holding pattern.”

The concert will also feature Chelsea Gu, the Grand Prize winner

of the Play Along with Jonathan Crow Challenge, a collaborative

initiative between Toronto Summer Music and the TSO. “The challenge

got an enormous response from the community,” Crow says.

“We had over 70 entries with ages ranging from seven to 80. There

18 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com

are several winners, who will be featured at both TSM and TSO

events. [Violinist Lincoln Haggart-Ives will play with Jonathan on

the February 6, 2022 TSO Young Person’s Concert.] [But] Chelsea’s

submission so impressed the jury that it was obvious we needed to

include her in the evolving Bach program.”

Chelsea Gu is no ordinary nine-year-old. She speaks in complete

sentences and with humility and purpose that would be admirable

in a person of any age. “I was already playing the piano, but

wanted to try the violin too. I had started taking lessons with Amy

Canzoneri [a TSO violinist] in February of 2019, but then COVID

prevented us from meeting in person. We continued on Zoom.

Amy is very strict about the fundamentals of playing in tune,

with precise rhythm and with a beautiful tone. I love that kind of

detailed work.”

“I knew right away that she is extremely gifted,” says Canzoneri.

“She absorbs concepts quickly and loves to practice. Her musical

instincts come from her heart. It’s a great joy to teach her!”

Chelsea continues, “My Dad brought home some CDs that Amy

recommended and I got to know the “Bach Double” [Two-Violin

Concerto, BWV 1043] from the recording by David and Igor

Oistrakh. When I saw the contest to play this piece with Jonathan, I

just decided it was something I wanted to do.”

A lot of us may look back and ask ourselves, “What did I accomplish

during the pandemic?” Chelsea Gu can say, “I started

playing the violin and got good enough to play with the Toronto

Symphony.” (Adversity to advantage!)

I like to take at least partial credit for Joseph Johnson becoming

principal cellist of the TSO. He and I were at the Grand Teton

Festival together and he was scheduled to play a concerto for two

cellos with Lynn Harrell. The page turns in the part were impossible,

so my first contact with Joe was when he asked me to split the

original two-stave part into two single-staff parts. The performance

was remarkable, as was his leadership of the cello section, so I

suggested to Joe that he might consider our principal cello position,

which was open at the time. At the end of his audition in Toronto,

the committee stood up and applauded.

Joe can be a late-night practicer and one evening, after a concert,

he was setting up in our dressing room to run through a solo recital

he was to perform the next day. Only the two of us were around, so

I asked, “Is this the dress rehearsal and can I listen?” He agreed and

I seated myself two feet in front of him, watching every detail of his

playing. There was never any concern about simply playing the correct

notes; He was searching, striving for precise sonorities and inflections

– and I sat mesmerized, awash in his sound. In a lifetime of musical

experiences, this is one I shall always remember. Joe will begin the

TSO’s Bach program with the Prelude from the Cello Suite No.1.

Talent runs deep at the TSO. While still a student at McGill

University, our second flutist Leonie Wall won the principal flute

job at the Orchestre des Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal.

She was also a winner of the prestigious New York Flute Club

Competition just before joining the TSO in 2004. Notes Jonathan,

“Leonie and Kelly [Kelly Zimba Lukić, principal flute] are always

working to achieve a balanced and flexible sound in our flute

section and the Brandenburg Concerto No.4 brings that teamwork

to the front of the stage.”

“I just love this piece,” says Leonie. “After such a long separation

from my colleagues, it’s wonderful to have this opportunity,

especially as a second flutist, to perform in such a prominent

ensemble role.”

Kelly adds: “Ten years ago, I heard the Pittsburgh Symphony

perform the complete Brandenburg Concerti. It was a revelation to

hear the instruments stand out in this context. I thought to myself,

I hope I’ll get to play these someday. I’ve played two before, but not

four, and it will be especially meaningful to play with Leonie.”

Next on the program will be Michael Sweeney’s mysterious Bach

bassoon concerto mentioned earlier. “This music exists in two

versions in Bach’s collected works, neither of which is a bassoon

concerto,” explains Michael. “It first appears as three separate

movements in two different Cantatas [BWV 169 and 49] that were



Save these dates!

January 23, 2022

• April 10, 2022

• June 5, 2022

In person at Trinity St. Paul’s.

Tickets go on sale online December 6, 2021 at:


Glionna Mansell Presents


A Music Series unlike any other


12:30 - 1:30 pm

Free-will Offering (suggested $20 Donation)

Kingsway Series Concerts


DECEMBER 15 Hanné Becker

Lunch Time


Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic, 3055 Bloor Street West - Toronto


DECEMBER 22 David Alexander Simon

All Saints Anglican Church, 2850 Bloor Street West - Toronto


JANUARY 5 Adrian Ross

All Saints Anglican Church, 2850 Bloor Street West - Toronto


JANUARY 19 Peter Nikiforuk

All Saints Anglican Church, 2850 Bloor Street West - Toronto


JANUARY 26 Alexander Straus-Fausto

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic, 3055 Bloor Street West - Toronto


Wed. June 29 2022, 7:30 pm

Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin

Timothy Eaton Memorial Church

230 St. Clair Ave. West - Toronto

General Admission: $ 45.00

Tickets and Information: organixconcerts.ca

416-769-5224 Mobile Call/Text:416-571-3680

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 19

“The practice of the time was for performers

to improvise their own ornaments and

scholars today debate endlessly as to exactly

how that was done. This concerto shows

how Bach himself did it!”

written two weeks apart in 1726, with the organ playing the solo

line. Twelve years later, Bach repurposed these movements to form

his Keyboard [Harpsichord] Concerto No. 2 BWV 1053, but with

upgrades. Changes to the harmony and refinements of the counterpoint

and voice leading are all consistent with Bach’s greater

experience as a composer, but most significantly, he wrote far

more florid versions of the melodies.” Michael will play these later

versions as his Da Capos [repeats of the opening musical material]

in movements one and three. “The practice of the time was for

performers to improvise their own ornaments and scholars today

debate endlessly as to exactly how that was done. This concerto

shows how Bach himself did it!”

For these performances, Michael has created an entirely new

score and parts to match his own vision for this reconstruction of

a bassoon concerto with oboe d’amore obbligato (to be played by

principal oboe, Sarah Jeffrey). I can attest to it taking him most

of these past seven months. As I write this, he’s just finishing

the string parts. (Adversity to advantage, once more!) Audience

members who want to hear this piece again should come back to

the TSO in February when pianist Angela Hewitt will play it as the

Keyboard Concerto No.2.

There will be a lot of familiar tunes on this program, but none

more immediately recognizable than the famous Air on a G String,

the second movement of Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.3. “Its simple

melody provides a lovely interlude amidst some otherwise complex

textures,” notes Jonathan.

The Brandenburg Concerto No.2 BWV 1047 is a riot of sound. The

four soloists, (violin, flute, oboe and piccolo trumpet) toss phrases

around, imitating and interrupting each other as if in competition

for the listener’s attention. “It’s an especially difficult piece for

the trumpet because it hangs around in the very highest range of

the instrument,” observes principal trumpet, Andrew McCandless.

“Just hitting all the notes can be a major achievement, but then

the sound can also be quite penetrating up there. One time, when

I was asked to play this, I showed up at the first rehearsal to find

my stand positioned off to the side – well away from the other soloists.

I was told this was because the trumpet is always too loud. I

told everyone, If any of you have to tell me to play softer, I’ll donate

back my entire paycheck. No one said anything and I got paid. For

me, this is an elegant ensemble piece. I try to blend like I’m Sarah’s

oboe duet partner.

Principal oboe Sarah Jeffrey agrees, “My very favourite role in

the TSO is being featured alongside my esteemed colleagues and

best friends. In this concert, I not only get to back up Michael in

an obligato role, but really mix it up with my other friends for the

Brandenburg 2. We often hang out together and it’s going to be like

one of our animated dinner conversations.”

After a 30-year “career” of listening to my colleagues of the

Toronto Symphony, I continue to be impressed with and inspired

by how good they are at what they do. To develop their level of skill

requires dedication akin to an Olympic athlete and their teamwork

rivals any sports franchise. Add to that their strong social bonds

and you have the magic that will be on full display January 7, 8 and

9, 2022 at Roy Thomson Hall.

Gary Corrin was appointed principal librarian of the Toronto

Symphony Orchestra in January 1992.


Music for Change

Kronos and Tagaq

return to 21C


“It’s not so much a place I go to as a place I come to.

It’s a freedom, a lack of control, an exploration, and

I’m reacting to whatever happens upon the path.”

Tanya Tagaq (quoted in WN May 2016)

Five years ago at the 21C Music Festival, the Kronos Quartet

introduced their Fifty for the Future project, performing

four of these works including the world premiere of Snow

Angel-Sivunittinni (meaning “the future children”) created by the

exhilarating and ferocious Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq. Spread

over five years, the project commissioned 50 new works by 25 women

and 25 men for string quartet, all designed to introduce future string

quartets to the diversity of contemporary musical ideas. In The

WholeNote article I wrote for the May 2016 issue, David Harrington,

first violinist of the quartet, described Tagaq’s voice as sounding “like

she has a string quartet in her throat.”

This year’s edition of the 21C festival brings these two forces of

creative fortitude back together once again, giving us a retrospective

look at the Fifty for the Future project in the form of a live film

documentary. On January 18, the multimedia performance piece A

Thousand Thoughts, presented in partnership with the Hot Docs Ted

Rogers Cinema, combines live music and narration by Kronos with

archival footage and filmed interviews with various artists, including

Tagaq. It offers us an intimate look at the Kronos initiative to build this

free library of 50 contemporary works which are available for download

on their website. Another

layer of the quartet’s commitment

to young performers will be a

two-day mentorship with students

from the Glenn Gould School,

culminating in a concert on

January 20 titled Fifty Forward.

On January 21, Kronos will

perform their concert Music for

Change with repertoire chosen to

express their current artist vision,

as articulated by Harrington.

“Everything we do as citizens,

as human beings, is a statement

about how we want the

world to be. Increasingly, I feel

my role as musician is to point in

constructive musical and cultural

directions as we attempt to help Tanya Tagaq

repair the torn fabric of our

20 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com

20 | December 2021 thewholenote.com


The Kronos Quartet with special guest Tanya Tagaq at 21C in 2016.

Dinuk Wijeratne

society.” Several works on their program point to key moments of the

civil rights movement: Zachary J. Watkins’ exploration of the moment

just before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream”

speech, along with other works that reference the music of Billie

Holiday, Mahalia Jackson and Jimi Hendrix.

The two guest performers joining Kronos on the stage are also the

creators of their works being premiered: Tagaq and Aruna Narayan.

Narayan will perform on the sarangi, an Indian bowed instrument

she learned to play from her internationally renowned father, Ram

Narayan. Tagaq’s performance will be an arrangement she created

with Kronos of her piece Colonizer that was recently announced

as one of the pieces included on her forthcoming album Tongues

to be released on March 11, 2022. The original version of Colonizer

arose during an improvisation that happened while performing with

the Nanook of the North film as she overlooked New York City’s

Columbus Circle, a traffic circle that has at its heart a monument to

the colonizer Columbus himself. On the Tongues album, Tagaq has

created two mixes of Colonizer, and describes on her Twitter feed that

the piece is a “reflection on accountability and action.” In this collaboration

with Kronos, we will experience a unique and original remix

which promises to be an fiery indictment of colonizer culture.

Niagara Symphony Orchestra, January 16

Following along with this theme of creating new arrangements is a

new version of an older piece by composer Dinuk Wijeratne. This Sri

Lankan-born Canadian composer is known for his boundary-crossing

works, collaborating with symphony orchestras, tabla players and DJ

artists. In 2014, he was commissioned by TorQ Percussion to create

a concerto for percussion and wind ensemble titled Invisible Cities.

Now the Niagara Symphony has invited him to create an orchestral

arrangement of this piece to be performed on January 16.

The original work was inspired by selected short stories of Italo

Calvino, the author of the book by the same name. The book contains

fragmentary prose poems describing 55 imaginary cities narrated

in the voice of the explorer Marco Polo during a conversation with

emperor Kublai Khan. In the 2014 version, Wijeratne selected five

of these cities to create a five-movement composition, each one

exploring different aspects of musical colour and rhythm: musical

symmetry, Gamelan-inspired timbres, Sengalese rhythms, South

Indian rhythms, and a dip into the mathematical world of fractals.

With the possibilities offered by a full orchestra, the 2022 orchestral

version will be an adventurous expansion into new timbral terrain.

Emergents I, Music Gallery, December 14-17.

During the month of December, the Music Gallery’s Emergents

program curated by Sara Constant is offering a four-part series, titled

possible worlds, dedicated to the theme of musical world-building.

The kickoff event on December 14 will be a community-focused workshop

in guided improvisation using graphic scores and conduction led

by saxophonist and instrument maker Naomi McCarroll-Butler. This

evening is geared for people interested in collective music-making

who come from different artistic backgrounds and all levels of musical

21/22 Crossing Over

Concert Season


Welcome back to live music. NMC is

thrilled to embark upon a bold new

era of channeling the limitless power

of music to traverse all boundaries:

between musical traditions,

between humans and technology,

even between music and memory.


416 961 9594

Not Alone – Oct.28.21

Aulos – Nov.11,18,25.21

50th Anniversary Distanced

Commissioning Series: John Oswald

– Feb.17.22

Difficult Grace: Seth Parker Woods

in Concert – Mar.10.22

Imagined Sounds – Apr.10.22

SWARA Sutras – Apr.30.22

All concerts at 8pm

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 21


The second evening of the series on December 15 is a concert

featuring performances by Skin Tone and Stephanie Castonguay with

a focus on hacking and the use of found technology. Castonguay’s

inspiration for her sonic experiments is DIY culture, taking barely

audible machines and turning them into playful instruments that

reveal the resonances and random sounds hidden within their structures.

She will be performing with her self-built light-scanner instruments

that use modified scanner heads as audiovisual devices to

translate objects built from various materials into sound and moving

images. Skin Tone is the solo performance project of James Goddard

who has been an innovative leader in Montreal’s independent music

scene, creating hubs for DIY music and presenting livestreamed

concerts. In his Music Gallery performance he will bring his skills on

voice, saxophone, mbira and electronics to create new worlds from

sonic distortion.

Night three, on December 16, will be a feast of experimental

performances by Sa.resi, Deidre, and Vixu who will delve into the

worlds of noise, improvisation and different textures of sound. Prior

to the concert there will be an opportunity to hear the performers

speak about their work within the context of present-day experimental

music and their visions for future developments. On the final

night of the series, on December 17, in a co-presentation with PIX

FILM Collective, Castonguay will speak about the design of her lightscanner

instruments and the more recent work she has created with

this custom-made instrument.

Music for change, indeed.

Wendalyn Bartley is a Toronto-based composer and electrovocal

sound artist. sounddreaming@gmail.com.

January 23 | 2022 | 2:30pm

St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts


By Samuel Barber

Narmina Afandiyeva

Music Director

Robert Cooper

Chorus Director

Featuring artists:

Simona Genga

Lauren Margison

Scott Rumble








What a difference

a year makes!


Just 8760 little hours ago, in December of last year, most of us

were hunkering down, keeping safe, and preparing for a very

different winter than we’d enjoyed in years past. Visits home

were cancelled; stockings were half-heartedly stuffed; home-office

chairs swivelled disconsolately from Zoom meetings to Zoom cocktail

hours. This year, however, things are looking just a little bit brighter:

vaccination rates are up, case rates are down, and – though the threat

of the pandemic looms, ever present on the periphery – it is looking as

though we may indeed have a more conventional (and decidedly more

sociable) holiday season.

As of December 16, we will officially be at the five-month mark

of music being back in Toronto and environs in the kinds of venues

I usually cover in this column. For some audience members, this

has meant five months of being back in venues, watching musicians

return to the stage after a lengthy intermission, and witnessing

restaurants, bars and concert halls sort through the thorny logistics

of making COVID-safe adjustments, training new staff and, often,

enacting new payment policies to ensure a more equitable and fair

disbursement of funds to musicians. For other audience members,

the return to live music has been slower, whether because of worries

related to COVID transmission, a change in lifestyle, or – as has

happened for so many people – a move, enabled by a shift to remote

work, from a dense urban area to somewhere with more affordable

housing options and more accessible outdoor spaces.

Whatever the case may be, there are quite a few exciting shows

happening in December. If holiday shows are your thing, there

are a number of options, including the Kensington Holiday Bash

(December 10, Grossman’s Tavern), A Charlie Brown Christmas and

Castro’s Christmas Party (both December 12, Castro’s Lounge), Tom

Nagy’s Christmas Experience (December 17, The Jazz Room), and the

Jason White Christmas Special (December 18, also at The Jazz Room).

A shout-out for The Emmet Ray

For great non-holiday-themed shows in a venue that still evokes the

warmth, community and good cheer of the season, I have one specific

suggestion: The Emmet Ray. Since its opening in late 2009, The Emmet

Ray has occupied a unique position in Toronto’s club scene. Unlike

venues such as The Rex and Jazz Bistro, The Emmet Ray’s identity has

as much to do with its bar program as it does live music. The bar is

perhaps best known for its extensive international whiskey options,

though it also features a selection of Trappist beer, offerings from

local breweries, wine and cocktails. Divided into two spaces, the bar

makes no demands of its patrons. In the front room, customers can

relax, enjoy their drinks and carry on a conversation in a setting that

borrows as much from an English village pub as it does from its more

typical College Street counterparts. In the back room, table-lined walls

lead to the stage space, complete with ceiling-mounted speakers, Wild

Turkey-sponsored backdrop, and, of late, plexiglass panels, to ensure

some particulate separation between performers and audience.

Like every other music venue in Toronto, The Emmet Ray has

had its share of difficulties over the past year and a half. During the

height of the pandemic, owner/operator Andrew Kaiser and team

quickly pivoted, converting the bar to a bottle shop/grocery store,

doing livestreamed shows, and creating courier-friendly kitchen

items for home delivery. As live shows returned in July 2021, the bar

22 | December 2021 thewholenote.com


The Emmet Ray's Andrew Kaiser

faced another kind of challenge: ballooning insurance costs, at a

rate substantially higher than in previous years, as a direct result of

COVID-related insurance industry anxiety. Despite all of these challenges,

The Emmet Ray continues to go strong.

Jenna Marie Pinard

In December at The Emmet, there

are a number of excellent shows

taking place. On December 8,

vocalist Jenna Marie Pinard takes

the stage. A University of Toronto

Jazz alum, Pinard wears many

hats. She is the host of Orange

Grove Radio, a show broadcast

throughout North America, on

stations as far-flung as Victoria,

Cutler Bay, Florida, and Jackson,

Mississippi. Since 2018, she has

also run the U of T Jazz social

media accounts and is the director

of her own company, JMP Media.

As a vocalist, Pinard is equally

at home with standards as she

is with R&B (Jenna Marie R&B

has been a popular recurring gig

Jenna Marie Pinard

at The Rex for a few years now).

Though the power of her delivery

and the burnished smoothness of her tone may be the first thing that

many listeners notice, it is her attention to detail in phrasing and

articulation that really sets her apart. Pinard is joined by keyboardist

Ewen Farncombe and bassist Caleb Klager, both of whom – like Pinard

– are thoughtful, confident jazz musicians who are equally at home in

other styles.

“Unlike some musicians, I didn’t find myself particularly inspired

or soothed by the solitude of the isolation period,” Pinard told me.

“Instead I found myself yearning for live shows and communal

connection through music.” When Kaiser contacted her about the

prospect of doing a December show, Pinard “knew that [she] wanted

to do something intimate and reflective, with the goal of deeply

connecting to the musicians and audience.” Though this is a sentiment

common to most live-performance situations, the immediacy

and urgency of the audience-art connection has taken on new

meaning in the aftermath of the most stringent lockdown measures.

That being said, this will be the group’s second time playing at The

Emmet since its reopening in July; the first time,” Pinard said, “was an

incredibly restorative experience.”

Continues on page 31

A gift that’s


in season.

Long & McQuade

Gift Cards

In any denomination.

For any product or service.

Purchase in-store

or online today!



The Holiday Season


New Album!

New Album!

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 23


Event listings are free of charge to

artists, venues and presenters.

Readers are encouraged to check weekly for changes

and updates to existing listings, and for the numerous

new listings being added each week, both current and

further into the future.

Register for the weekly updates at



● Section 1: Events by date for Dec 8, 2021 – Jan 28, 2022

These are events with an announced date and time that

one could circle on a calendar, in order to “be there” when

it happens for the first (or only) time. This includes live and

livestreamed performances; first broadcasts and screenings;

concerts, workshops, symposia, and so on.

If the event in question remains available after that first presentation

(e.g. online or on demand), this is noted at the end of the


● Section 2: Ongoing online musical activity including

date-related events now available on demand online

These are musical activities that readers can access in their

own time, usefully identified by the name of the presenter or the

nature of the event.

● Section 3: In the clubs (Mostly Jazz)

How to List

1. Use the convenient online form at


2. Email listings to listings@thewholenote.com.

Please note, we do not take listings over

the phone.


1. Weekly online updates:

submission deadline is 6pm Tuesday

of the week prior to the event in question,

for Friday posting.

2. Print:

approximately fifteen days before publication.

Our next print issue covers the last week of January

to the first week of March 2022, and the submission

deadline for new listings and updates to listings

previously processed is 6pm Monday January 3.

Events by Date | December 8, 2021 to January 28, 2022

PLEASE NOTE: All times are Eastern Time unless otherwise noted.

Listings are based on information sent to WholeNote in advance by

event presenters. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, some events

may be cancelled or postponed. Also, current COVID health regulations

may require proof of vaccination. Please visit presenters’ websites or

contact them directly for updates.

More detailed information for each listing is available at


Wednesday December 8

● 12:30: ORGANIX Concerts. Imre Olah. All

Saints Kingsway Anglican Church, 2850 Bloor

St. W. 416-571-3680 or www.organixconcerts.ca.

Freewill offering: $20 suggested.

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin. Carla

Bennett (Stella); Kyle Blair (Jim Hardy); Wren

Evans (Charlie Winslow); Kristi Frank (Linda

Mason); Elodie Gillett (Rose/Radio Quartet);

Kyle Godemba (Ted Hanover); and other performers;

Kate Hennig, stage director. Shaw

Festival Theatre, 10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake.

1-800-511-SHAW (7429)

or www.shawfest.com. $25-$94. Runs until

Dec 23.

● 1:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Lyrics by Tim Rice. Princess of Wales Theatre,

300 King St. W. www.mirvish.com/shows/.

$39-$150. 9-12, 14-19, 21-24, 26, 28-31, 2021;

Jan 2, 2022.

● 2:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. TSO

Holiday Pops. Ryan Silverman, vocalist; Steven

Reineke, conductor. Roy Thomson Hall,

60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-

7769. Starting at $56, Matinee starting at $41.

Also Dec 8(8pm); Dec 9(8pm).

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 9-12, 14-19,

21-24, 26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. TSO

Holiday Pops. Ryan Silverman, vocalist; Steven

Reineke, conductor. Roy Thomson Hall,

60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-

7769. Starting at $56, Matinee starting at $41.

Also Dec 9(8pm).

Thursday December 9

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:00: Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing

Arts. Imagine Online Festival: Kingston

Jazz. Room Tone, Chantal Thompson.

613-533-2424 or ibcpaboxoffice@queensu.ca.


● 7:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:30: Storytelling Toronto. Storytelling

Concert. Original storytelling songs by

Ramya Amuthan. Wychwood Barns Park,

76 Wychwood Ave. 416-656-2445. $15.


● 8:00: Art of Time Ensemble. To All A Good

Night 6. Music by Stevie Wonder, John Prine,

Stephen Colbert & Elvis Costello, and Duke

Ellington. Jackie Richardson, Jessica Mitchell,

Liam Russell, David Wall, and Tom Wilson.

Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor St. W.

www.artoftimeensemble.com or 416-408-

0208. $24-$79. Limited capacity. Also available

as a livestream.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 10-12, 14-19,

21-24, 26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Music Toronto. Gryphon Trio with

David Harding. Brahms: Piano Trio No.1 in B

Op.8; Ryan: New Work (world premiere); Student

compositions from the Earl Haig/Claude

Watson program; Dvořák: Piano Quartet in

E-flat Op.87. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts,

27 Front St. E. 416-366-7723. $47.50-$52.

December 9 at 8 pm





2022 Spring Series

Chamber music in an intimate setting

as it was meant to be heard.

New Season begins March 6

for information visit


24 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. TSO

Holiday Pops. Ryan Silverman, vocalist; Steven

Reineke, conductor. Roy Thomson Hall,

60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-

7769. Starting at $56, Matinee starting at $41.

Also Dec 7(8pm); Dec 8(2pm).

Friday December 10

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:30: West End Micro Music Festival.

Love Mozart. Stravinsky: Three Pieces for

String Quartet; Stravinsky: Three Pieces for

Solo Clarinet; Stravinsky: Pour Pablo Picasso

(fragment); Mozart: Allegro for clarinet and

string quartet K516c; Francaix: Quintet for

Clarinet and Strings. Emily Kruspe, Eric Kim-

Fujita, violins; Maxime Despax, viola; Sebastian

Ostertag, cello; Brad Cherwin, clarinet.

Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1691 Bloor St.

W. 647-880-9185 or www.westendmusic.ca.

$20; $50(3-concert pass); Free(st).

● 8:00: Jazz Room. Mary-Catherine Pazzano.

Jazz Room, Huether Hotel, 59 King St N., Waterloo.

226-476-1565. .

● 8:00: Lula Lounge. Salseros with Attitude.

1585 Dundas St. W. 416-588-0307. .

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Hits for the

Holidays. CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.


$59-$150. Also Dec 11, 17,

18, 21, 22, 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 11-12, 14-19,

21-24, 26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. Music

Mix & Canada on Stage Series: Ashley Mac-

Isaac with Special Guest Jully Black. Koerner

Hall, TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-

0208 or www.rcmusic.com/performance.


● 8:00: Sinfonia Toronto. Beethoven @

251: Happy Birthday! Coleridge-Taylor: Fantasiestücke;

Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1;

Beethoven: Symphony No.8. Dmitri Levkovich,

piano; Nurhan Arman, conductor. Jane Mallett

Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts,

27 Front St. E. In person 416-366-7723; virtual

416-499-0403 www.sinfoniatoronto.com.

In-person: $55.97; $48.06(sr); $20.96(st);

Livestream: $15. LIVE & ONLINE

Saturday December 11

● 2:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 12, 14-19,

21-24, 26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 4:30: Beach United Church. Heather Bambrick

and Friends. Thad Jones: A Child Is

Born; and other seasonal favourites. Heather

Bambrick, vocal jazz and piano. 140 Wineva

Ave. www.beachunitedchurch.com or 416-

700-9644. Videolink and in-person tickets

at www.eventbrite.ca. Suggested donations:

$25(in-person); $10(videolink). LIVE &


● 7:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:00: Untitled Ensemble. Emily Suzanne

Shapiro: A Menagerie of Sound. Emily

Suzanne Shapiro: Utter Zoo; Woodwind Quintet

(premiere); Solo Improv. Emily Suzanne

Shapiro, clarinet & bass clarinet; Elizabeth

Christina Brown, oboe & English horn; Chris

Buchner, horn; Iraj Tamadon-Nejad, bassoon;

Jaye Marsh, flute. Array Space, 155 Walnut

Ave. Click on www.untitledensemble.ca.

By donation. Register at www.forms.gle/


● 7:30: Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing

Arts. Imagine Online Festival: Minerva

by Suzanne Pasternak. Isabel Digital

Concert Hall. 613-533-2424 or ibcpaboxoffice@queensu.ca.


● 7:30: Northumberland Orchestra and

Choir. Christmas in Northumberland. Dinner

followed by a Carol Cantata. Best Western,

930 Burnham St., Cobourg. 905-372-2105.

$60. Includes dinner, show, service.

● 8:00: Acoustic Harvest. Boreal. St. Paul’s

United Church, 200 McIntosh St., Scarborough.

www.acousticharvest.ca. $30. No

walk-in patrons.

● 8:00: Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.

In Concert. Richardson-Schulte: The

Hockey Sweater; Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker

Suite; Violin Concerto. Martin MacDonald,

guest conductor; Eva Lesage, violin. P.C. Ho

Theatre, Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater

Toronto, 5183 Sheppard Ave. E., Scarborough.

416-879-5566 or www.cathedralbluffs.

com or cbsoboxoffice@gmail.com. $30-$48;

$25-$38(sr/st); Free(under 12).

● 8:00: Jazz Room. Pat LaBarbera Quartet.

Jazz Room, Huether Hotel, 59 King St N., Waterloo.


● 8:00: Jon Feldman. Feldman/Malone/Higgins

Trio. Bemsha Swing, In Your Own Sweet Way, Au

Privave, Oleo, Well You Needn’t. Jesse Malone,

trumpet; Bret Higgins, acoustic bass; Jon Feldman,

piano. Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave.

647-862-3816. $20; $15(adv).

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown Holidays

with Barenaked Ladies: Hits for the Holidays.

CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.mirvish.


$59-$150. Also Dec 17, 18, 21, 22, 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 12, 14-19,

21-24, 26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. Jazz

From Around the World Series: Alfredo Rodríguez

& Pedrito Martinez Group. Koerner Hall,

TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. $45-$105.

● 8:00: Singing Out. A Light Ahead: A Holiday

Concert. Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence

Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. www.

singingout.com or www.ticketmaster.ca. $35.

Sunday December 12

● Dec 12: Against the Grain Theatre/Toronto

Symphony Orchestra. Messiah/Complex.

Performed in Arabic, Dene, English, French,

Inuktitut, and Southern Tutchone. Handel:

Messiah. Jonathon Adams, Looee Arreak,

Spencer Britten, Rihab Chaieb, Deantha

Edmunds, singers; Le Choeur Louisbourg;

Halifax Camerata Singers; Toronto Mendelssohn

Choir; University of Prince Edward

Island Chamber Chorus; and other performers;

Johannes Debus; conductor; Joel Ivany

and Reneltta Arluk, co-directors. Register at

www.bit.ly/messiahcomplex2021. Available

until Jan 9, 2022. ONLINE

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 2:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Snacktime!

CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.mirvish.


$49-$69. Also Dec 19.

● 2:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 14-19, 21-24,

26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 2:00 Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 3:00: Royal Conservatory of Music.

Invesco Piano Concerts & Canada on Stage

Series: Jan Lisiecki. All Chopin program:

Études and Nocturnes. Koerner Hall, TELUS

Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. $50-$105.

● 3:00: Tapestry Chamber Choir. Handel’s

Messiah: Part 1. Soloists and strings from

York Chamber Ensemble. Bradford Arts Centre,

66 Barrie St., Bradford. Click on www.

ticketscene.ca or www.tapestrychoir.ca or


● 3:00: Villa Charities/Coro San Marco.

Christmas Concert / Concerto di Natale.

Traditional English and Italian Christmas

music. Coro San Marco Choir; Michael Colla,

conductor; pianist Adolfo De Santis, piano.

Columbus Centre, 901 Lawrence Ave. W. Click

on www.villacharities.com/coro or 416-789-

7011 x248. $15. A limited number of tickets will

be available to purchase at the door.

Tuesday December 14

● 7:30: Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing

Arts. Preludes for Piano. Preludes

by Chopin and Burge. Philip Chiu, piano.

390 King St. W., Kingston. 613-533-2424 or

email ibcpaboxoffice@queensu.ca. $10-$39;

free(online). LIVE & ONLINE

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 15-19, 21-24,

26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 6:30: Music Gallery. Emergents I Series:

Part 1. Workshop: Community Sound, with

Naomi McCarroll-Butler. Guided improvisations

using graphic scores and conduction.

Aimed at community members and earlycareer

artists interested in exploring collective

music-making, this will be a space

for people with different artistic interests

and backgrounds to meet, speak and create

together. Naomi McCarroll-Butler, saxophonist,

clarinetist, instrument maker. Music Gallery

at 918 Bathurst, 918 Bathurst St. www.

musicgallery.org. Free.

Wednesday December 15

● 12:30: ORGANIX Concerts. Hanné Becker,


to our faithful

Small Concerts patrons

for your interest and

support of 47 seasons

of wonderful chamber

music featuring Toronto

Symphony Orchestra


We sincerely regret

that it will not be

possible to present

a season in 2022.

Organ. Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church,

3055 Bloor St. W. 416-571-3680 or click on

www.organixconcerts.ca. Freewill offering -

$20 suggested.

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 1:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 16-19, 21-24,

26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 7:00: Achill Choral Society. Comfort & Joy.

A virtual holiday concert featuring a mix of

previously recorded live concert selections

plus beautiful choral works recorded this

fall. Shawn Grenke, conductor; Nancy Sicsic,

piano. www.achill.ca. Free. ONLINE

● 7:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 16-19, 21-24,

26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Music Gallery. Emergents I Series:

Part 2. Concert: Stephanie Castonguay +

Skin Tone. Hacking, breaking and reinventing

the creative process. Stephanie Castonguay;

Skin Tone (James Goddard). Music Gallery

at 918 Bathurst, 918 Bathurst St. www.



Coming Dec. 15 on


thewholenote.com December 2021 | 25

Events by Date | December 8, 2021 to January 28, 2022

musicgallery.org. Free.

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Messiah.

Anna-Sophie Neher, soprano; Rihab

Chaieb, mezzo; Spencer Britten, tenor; Stephen

Hegedus, bass-baritone; Toronto Mendelssohn

Choir; Simon Rivard, RBC Resident

Conductor. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St.

416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-7769. Starting at

$35. Also Dec 17, 18-3pm & 8 pm, 19-3pm.

Thursday December 16

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:00: Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing

Arts. Imagine Online Festival: Classical

and Beyond. Grieg: Hall of the Mountain

King, Ballade in g Op.24; Bach: French Overture;

Works by Bach, Mattheis and Biber.

Sheng Cai, Leonid Nediak, piano; Paelnai Duo;

Chloe Kim, violin; Bryn Lutek, percussion. Isabel

Digital Concert Hall. 613-533-2424 or ibcpaboxoffice@queensu.ca.


● 7:30: Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts.

TD Jazz Series: Pavlo: Home For The Holidays.

Partridge Hall, FirstOntario Performing

Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul St., St. Catharines.

905-688-0722 or 289-868-9177. $50; $25(st/

youth with id).

● 8:00: Hugh’s Room. Kellylee Evans Live.

3030 Dundas West, 3030 Dundas St. W. Dinner

reservations at www.3030dundaswest.

com/menu. $35(in person); $10(livestream).


● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber

Music Society. Penderecki String Quartet.

Beethoven: String Quartet No.14 in c-sharp

Op.131; String Quartet No.16 in F Op.135;

Große Fuge Op.133. First United Church (Waterloo),

16 William St. W., Waterloo. 519-569-

1809 or www.ticketscene.ca/kwcms. $40;

$25(st). Also Dec 18.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 17-19, 21-24,

26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 7:00: Music Gallery. Emergents I Series:

Part 3. Parallel Playfields: Concert and Talk

with Unit 2, for You In Mind. Experimental

performances exploring noise, improvisation

and different textures of sound including

a pre-performance discussion, facilitated

by Sameen and including all performers, with

a focus on the creative process, the present

culture of experimental music and the ways in

which it can evolve. Sa.resi, Deidre, and Vixu.

Music Gallery at 918 Bathurst, 918 Bathurst

St. www.musicgallery.org. Free.

● 8:00: Tafelmusik. A Tafelmusik Christmas.

Bach: Sanctus in D; Bach: “Christum wir sollen

loben schon” from Cantata 21; Bach: Kyrie,

Gloria & Cum sancto from Lutheran Mass

in G; Stradella: Sinfonia from Cantata per il

Santissimo Natale; Charpentier: Agnus Dei

from Messe de minuit; works by Berlioz, Poulenc,

Pasquini, Handel; and Christmas Carols.

Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, Ivars Taurins,

conductor. Details at info@tafelmusik.org or

1-833-964-633. ONLINE

Friday December 17

● 12:00 noon: Music at Met. Friday Noon at

Met Concert Series. Featuring guest singers

and music for the holiday season. Dr. Patricia

Wright, organ. Metropolitan United Church

(Toronto), 56 Queen St. E. Details at www.

metunited.ca/live. Free. LIVE & STREAMED

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:00: Serenata Singers. Songs of Comfort

and Joy! A festive selection of traditional and

popular holiday music including the world

premiere of a commissioned work by composer

Samuel Kerr. Jonathan Wong, artistic

director. www.serenatasingers.ca. ONLINE

● 7:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:00: St. James Cathedral. La Nativité

du Seigneur. With readings between the

movements of Messiaen’s work for organ

exploring the meaning of Christmas. Messiaen:

La Nativité du Seigneur. Rashaan Allwood,

organ. Cathedral Church of St. James,

106 King St. E. 416-364-7865. Donation.

● 7:00: Vesuvius Ensemble/Istituto Italiano

di Cultura/Villa Charities. Quanno Nascette

Ninno: Christmas in Southern Italy. Francesco

Pellegrino, tenor and director; Lucas

Harris, lute; Romini di Gasbarro, vocalist;

Luis Samão, guitar; Tommasso Sollazzo, bagpipes.

Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. www.


Also Dec 18.

● 7:30: Southern Ontario Lyric Opera

(SOLO)/Wish Opera Arts. Together Again

for the Holidays. Tonia Evans Cianculli, soprano;

Eugenia Dermentzis, mezzo; Adam

Luther, tenor; James Westman, baritone;

SOLO Orchestra & Chorus; Peter Oleskevich,

conductor.Burlington Performing Arts Centre,

440 Locust St., Burlington. www.burlingtonpac.ca

or 905-681-6000. $55;

$45(sr); $25(st); $20(livestream). LIVE &





● 7:30: The Edison Singers. Festival of

Carols. Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate,

28 Norfolk St., Guelph. 1-226-384-3100. $25-

$40. Limited seating. Also Dec 20(Niagaraon-the-Lake);


● 8:00: Jazz Room. Tom Nagy’s Christmas

Experience. Jazz Room, Huether Hotel,

59 King St N., Waterloo. 226-476-1565. .

● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony

Orchestra. Yuletide Spectacular. Evan Mitchell,

conductor. 519-745-4711 or 1-888-745-4717.

$15-$100 per stream. Available Dec 17-8pm

to Dec 19-11:59pm. Purchase 1 stream per

household. ONLINE

Lydia Adams, Conductor

Concert/Fundraiser Premiere

SUN. DEC 19, 2021 AT 4:00PM

Sherry & Shortbread ‘At Home’

The Elmer Iseler Singers present

seasonal music with special guests:

James Campbell, clarinet & Graham Campbell, guitar

Sharang Sharma, James T. Chestnutt Scholar

Your donation gives you access to our

online event from Dec. 19 to Dec. 26, 2021

416-217-0537 elmeriselersingers.com

26 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Hits for the

Holidays. CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.


$59-$150. Also Dec 18,

21, 22, 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 18-19, 21-24,

26, 28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 7:00: Music Gallery. Emergents I Series:

Part 4. Artist Talk: Stephanie Castonguay,

with PIX FILM. Diving into the artist’s sound

art practice and recent audiovisual work

with self-built light scanner instruments.

Stephanie CastonguayPix Film Productions,

1411 Dufferin St. Unit C. www.musicgallery.

org. Free.

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Messiah.

See Dec 15. Also Dec 18(3pm & 8pm),


Saturday December 18

● 10:00am: Church of St. Andrew, Scarborough.

Sing-Along Handel’s Messiah. A

reading of selected choruses. Dr. Richard

Heinzle, conductor; Jeff Vidov, accompanist.

2333 Victoria Park Ave., Scarborough.

416-447-1481. $25. Pre-registration required.

Bring your own book or borrow from us.

Bring your own lunch.

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 2:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 19, 21-24, 26,

28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 3:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Messiah.

See Dec 15. Also Dec 18(8pm), 19(3pm).

● 4:00: Pax Christi Chorale. Christmas

Through the Ages. Saint-Saëns: Oratorio

de Noël; and works by Trotta, Rutter, Britten,

Stephanie Martin, Handel, and Hagenberg;

A Carol Sing-along. Odin Quartet;

Joshua Tamayo, organ/piano; Jamie Drake,

percussion; Elaine Choi, conductor. Grace

Church-on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Rd. www.

paxchristichorale.org. $50; $45(sr); $25(st).

● 7:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:00: Vesuvius Ensemble/Istituto Italiano

di Cultura/Villa Charities. Quanno

Nascette Ninno: Christmas in Southern

Italy. Francesco Pellegrino, tenor

and director; Lucas Harris, lute; Romini

di Gasbarro, vocalist; Luis Samão, guitar;

Tommasso Sollazzo, bagpipes. Heliconian

Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. www.bemusednetwork.com/events/detail/873.

Also Dec 17.

● 7:30: The Annex Singers. “Yes, Virginia.”

An affirmation of the power of belief, faith and

the imagination in this most magical of seasons.

Works by Myers, Sirrett, Walton, and

Willan. Colin Mochrie and Debra McGrath,

actors; Melanie Conly, soprano; Maria Case,

artistic director. www.annexsingers.com.

Free. Donations welcome. Available until


● 7:30: Canadian Opera Company. In Winter.

Vivaldi: Winter from The Four Seasons;

seasonal songbook selections; Ian Cusson:

In Winter for for solo, chorus, and orchestra.

Melody Courage, soprano; Jamie Groote, soprano;

Midori Marsh, soprano; Anna-Sophie

Neher, soprano; Charlotte Siegel, soprano;

and other Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio;

Canadian Opera Company Orchestra

& Chorus; Johannes Debus. www.coc.ca/


● 7:30: Elora Singers. Radiant Dawn: A Festival

of Carols. Includes traditional and contemporary

arrangements by Willcocks,

Chilcott, Dove, Enns, Gjeilo, and others. Free.

Available until Jan 7, 2022. Live concerts on

Dec 21 & 22. ONLINE

● 7:30: Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.

Hometown Holidays. Anderson: Christmas

Festival; Abigail Richardson-Schulte: Making

Light; Tchaikovsky: Selections from The Nutcracker

Suite; Anderson: Sleigh Ride; Naughtin:

Christmas Angels Sing-Along. Thomas Le

Duc-Moreau, conductor. FirstOntario Concert

Hall, 1 Summers Ln., Hamilton. 905-526-7756

or www.hpo.org. In-person: $35-$80;$30-

$75(sr); $20(age 5-17). Livestream $24. LIVE


● 7:30: Link Music Lab. Mahsa Vahdat &

Sardar Mohamad Jani. Part of Experimental

Link Music Nights. Improvisation. Mahsa Vahdat,

vocals; Sardar Mohamad Jani, oud. Small

World Music Centre, Artscape Youngplace,

180 Shaw St. www.eventbrite.ca. $50. Exclusive

concert with limited capacity.

● 7:30: Niagara Symphony Orchestra. Holiday

Favourites. Kaylee Harwood, vocalist;

Sayer Roberts, vocalist; Laura Secord Senior

School Choir (Katryna Sacco, director);

Bradley Thachuk, conductor. Partridge

Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre,

250 St. Paul St., St. Catharines. www.niagarasymphony.com

or 905-688-0722 or 905-

688-5601 x3700 or 1-855-515-0722. $68;

$60(sr); $39(arts worker); $15(st & youth).

Also Dec 19(2:30pm).

● 7:30: Royal Conservatory of Music. Taylor

Academy Concerts Series: Academy Chamber

Orchestra. Mazzoleni Concert Hall, Royal

Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208

or www.rcmusic.com/performance. Free.

● 8:00: Georgetown Bach Chorale. Handel’s

Messiah. Georgetown Bach Chorale

and Chamber Orchestra; Ron Greidanus,

harpsichord/conductor.Holy Cross Parish,

14400 Argyll Rd., Georgetown. www.georgetownbachchorale.com

or 905-873-9909.

$45; $10(st). Also Dec 19(2pm).

● 7:30: Guelph Chamber Choir. Handel’s

Messiah LIVE. Elizabeth Lepock, soprano;

Autumn Debassige, alto; Lawrence Wiliford,

tenor; Jeremy Ludwig, bass; Guelph Chamber

Choir & Baroque Orchestra; Charlene Pauls,

conductor. River Run Centre, 35 Woolwich

St., Guelph. 519-763-3000 or www.riverrun.

ca/events/2021-12-18. $45; $25(under 30);

$25(livestream). LIVE & LIVESTREAM.

● 8:00: Jazz Room. Jason White Christmas

Special. Jazz Room, Huether Hotel, 59 King St

N., Waterloo. 226-476-1565. .

● 8:00: Kindred Spirits Orchestra. Reflections.

Korngold: Concerto for Violin and

Orchestra; Shostakovich: Symphony No.15.

Conrad Chow, violin; Michael Berec, host;

Kristian Alexander, conductor. Richmond Hill

Centre for the Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge

St., Richmond Hill. 905-604-8339 or www.

ksorchestra.ca. $20-$40. LIVE & STREAMED.

Moved from Flato Markham Theatre on

Dec 11. Tickets purchased for Dec 11 are valid

for the new date.

● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber

Music Society. Penderecki String Quartet.

Beethoven: String Quartet No.14 in c-sharp

Op.131; String Quartet No.16 in F Op.135;

Große Fuge Op.133. First United Church,

16 William St. W., Waterloo. 519-569-1809 or

www.ticketscene.ca/kwcms. $40; $25(st).

Also Dec 16.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Hits for the

Holidays. CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.


$59-$150. Also Dec 21,

22, 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 19, 21-24, 26,

28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Mississauga Symphony Orchestra.

A Baroque Christmas. Christopher Dunham,

baritone; Lauren Estey, soprano; Daniel Taylor,

conductor. Living Arts Centre, 4141 Living

Arts Dr., Mississauga. www.mississaugasymphony.ca.

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. Song-

Bird North Series. Temerty Theatre, Telus

Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. $40.

● 8:00: That Choir. That Choir Carols. St.

Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 73 Simcoe St.

416-419-1756 or info@thatchoir.com or www.

thatchoir.com. PWYC. Also Dec 19.




conducted by Craig Pike

DECEMBER 18 & 19 | 8PM

St. Andrew's Presbyterian

73 Simcoe St


● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Messiah.

See Dec 15. Also Dec 19(3pm).

Sunday December 19

● 2:00: Georgetown Bach Chorale. Handel’s

Messiah. Georgetown Bach Chorale

and Chamber Orchestra; Ron Greidanus,

harpsichord/conductor. Holy Cross Parish,

14400 Argyll Rd., Georgetown. www.georgetownbachchorale.com

or 905-873-9909.

$45; $10(st). Also Dec 18(8pm).

● 2:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Snacktime!

CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.mirvish.


$49-$69. Also Dec 5 & 12.

● 2:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 21-24, 26,

28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 2:00: Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble.

Concert. Featuring a Small Band Jazz

Ensemble. Port Credit Legion, 35 Front St. N.,

Port Credit. PWYC.

● 2:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 2:30: Niagara Symphony Orchestra. Holiday

Favourites. Kaylee Harwood, vocalist;

Sayer Roberts, vocalist; Laura Secord Senior

School Choir (Katryna Sacco, director);

Bradley Thachuk, conductor. Partridge

Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre,

250 St. Paul St., St. Catharines. www.niagarasymphony.com

or 905-688-0722 or 905-

688-5601 x3700 or 1-855-515-0722. $68;

$60(sr); $39(arts worker); $15(st & youth).

Also Dec 18(7:30pm).

● 3:00: Mississauga Symphony Orchestra.

A Merry Little Christmas. Living Arts Centre,

4141 Living Arts Dr., Mississauga. www.mississaugasymphony.ca.

● 3:00: Smoke Show BBQ & Brew. York Jazz

Ensemble. Smoke Show, 744 Mount Pleasant

Rd. 416-901-7469 or www.smokeshowbbqandbrew.com.

● 3:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Messiah.

See Dec 15.

● 4:00: Elmer Iseler Singers. Sherry &

Shortbread “At Home”. A fundraising event.

James Campbell, clarinet; Graham Campbell,

guitar; Sharang Sharma, tenor; Lydia Adams,

conductor. 416-217-0567 or www.elmeriselersingers.com.

By donation. ONLINE

● 4:00: Flute Street. It’s Christmas on Flute

Street. Early, traditional and modern motets,

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 27

Events by Date | December 8, 2021 to January 28, 2022

noëls and carols from around the world. Ten

musicians on nine different sizes of flute from

the 12-inch piccolo to the over 16-foot double

contrabass flute. Lisa Jack, conductor. Heliconian

Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. 416-462-9498.

$25; $20(sr/arts workers); $10(st).

● 4:30: Opera Revue. Opera Revue Christmas

Show. Fun, casual afternoon of opera,

art song and more in a comfortable bar setting.

Works by Gounod, Donizetti, Weill, and

Mozart. Danie Friesen, soprano; Claire Harris,

piano. The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. 647-

637-7491 or www.operarevue.com. $10.



& Carols



4:30 PM





● 4:30: Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

Nine Lessons & Carols. 1585 Yonge St. www.

yorkminsterpark.com. Free.

● 8:00: That Choir. That Choir Carols. St.

Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 73 Simcoe St.

416-419-1756 or info@thatchoir.com or www.

thatchoir.com. PWYC.

Monday December 20

● 7:30: Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts.

TD Jazz Series: Molly Johnson - This Holiday

Season. Partridge Hall, FirstOntario Performing

Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul St., St.

Catharines. 905-688-0722 or www.bravoniagara.com.

$50; $25(st/youth with id).

● 7:30: Kingston Symphony Orchestra.

Candlelight Christmas. Tchaikovsky: Excerpts

from The Nutcracker; Leroy’s Anderson:

Sleigh Ride; Christmas favourites by Howard

Cable; and other works. Evan Mitchell,

conductor. Isabel Bader Centre for the

Performing Arts, 390 King St. W., Kingston.

Click on www.kingstonsymphony.ca/concerts-events/candlelight-christmas/

or call

613-533-2424. In-person + complimentary

livestream access: $30(adults/sr); $15(st).

Livestream: $15. Also Dec 21 & 22.

● 7:30: The Edison Singers. Festival of Carols.

Court House Theatre, 26 Queen St., Niagara-on-the-Lake.

1-226-384-3100. $25-$40.

Limited seating. Also Dec 22(Elora).

Tuesday December 21

● 2:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 5:00: Elora Singers. Radiant Dawn: A Festival

of Carols. James MacMillan: O Radiant

Dawn; Ola Gjelio: The First Nowell; Mark

Sirett: Thou Shalt Know Him; Bob Chilcott:

Les anges dans nos campagnes; Stephanie

Martin: Stopping by the woods on a snowy

evening. Mark Vuorinen, conductor. Melville

United Church, 300 St. Andrew St. W., Fergus.

519-846-0331. $30; $15(st/arts); $5(high

school st). Also on Dec 21(7:30pm); 22(5:00

& 7:30pm).

● 7:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:30: Kingston Symphony Orchestra.

Candlelight Christmas. Tchaikovsky: Excerpts

from The Nutcracker; Leroy’s Anderson:

Sleigh Ride; Christmas favourites by Howard

Cable; and other works. Evan Mitchell,

conductor. Isabel Bader Centre for the

Performing Arts, 390 King St. W., Kingston.

Click on www.kingstonsymphony.ca/concerts-events/candlelight-christmas/

or call

613-533-2424. In-person + complimentary

livestream access: $30(adults/sr); $15(st).

Livestream: $15. Also Dec 22.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Hits for the

Holidays. CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.


$59-$150. Also Dec 22, 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 22-24, 26,

28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Come From

Away. Book, Music & Lyrics by Irene Sankoff

and David Bein. Royal Alexandra Theatre,

260 King St. W. www.mirvish.com/

shows. $29-$139. From Dec 15. Tue-Sat(8pm);

Wed(1:30pm); Sat & Sun(2pm).

Wednesday December 22

● 12:30: ORGANIX Concerts. David Alexander,

Organ. All Saints Kingsway Anglican

Church, 2850 Bloor St. W. 416-571-3680 or

www.organixconcerts.ca. Freewill offering of

$20 suggested.

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 1:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 23-24, 26,

28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 5:00: Elora Singers. Radiant Dawn: A Festival

of Carols. James MacMillan: O Radiant

Dawn; Ola Gjelio: The First Nowell; Mark Sirett:

Thou Shalt Know Him; Bob Chilcott: Les

anges dans nos campagnes; Stephanie Martin:

Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.

Mark Vuorinen, conductor. Melville

United Church, 300 St. Andrew St. W., Fergus.

519-846-0331. $30; $15(st/arts); $5(high

school st). Also on Dec 22(7:30pm).

● 7:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 7:30: Kingston Symphony Orchestra.

Candlelight Christmas. Tchaikovsky: Excerpts

from The Nutcracker; Leroy’s Anderson:

Sleigh Ride; Christmas favourites by Howard

Cable; and other works. Evan Mitchell,

conductor. Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing

Arts, 390 King St. W., Kingston. Click

on www.kingstonsymphony.ca/concertsevents/candlelight-christmas/

or 613-533-

2424. In-person + complimentary livestream

access: $30(adults/sr); $15(st). Livestream:

$15. Also Dec 20 & 21.

● 7:30: The Edison Singers. Festival of Carols.

Knox Presbyterian Church (Elora),

51 Church St., Elora. 1-226-384-3100. $25-

$40. Limited seating. Also Dec 17(Guelph);


● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Hits for the

Holidays. CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.


$59-$150. Also Dec 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 23-24, 26,

28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

Thursday December 23

● 1:00: Shaw Festival. Irving Berlin’s Holiday

Inn. See Dec 8. Runs until Dec 23.

● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Hometown

Holidays with Barenaked Ladies: Hits for the

Holidays. CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge St. www.



● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 24, 26, 28-31,

2021; Jan 2, 2022.

Friday December 24

● 1:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Nov 30, Dec 26,

28-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

Sunday December 26

● 3:00: Smoke Show BBQ & Brew. Red Hot

Ramble. Smoke Show, 744 Mount Pleasant

Rd. 416-901-7469 or www.redhotramble.ca or

www.smokeshowbbqandbrew.com. .

● 6:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 28-31, 2021;

Jan 2, 2022.

Tuesday December 28

● 1:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also 8pm. Also

Dec 29-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

Wednesday December 29

● 1:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also 8pm. Also

Dec 30-31, 2021; Jan 2, 2022.

● 8:00: Toronto Operetta Theatre. A Waltz

Dream. By Oscar Straus. Andrea Nuñez,

Scott Rumble, Elizabeth Beeler, Keith Klassen,

and Gregory Finney; Derek Bate, conductor;

Guillermo Silva-Marin, stage director. Jane

Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the

Arts, 27 Front St. E. 416-366-7723 or 1–800-

708-7654 or www.stlc.com. $75-$95. Also

Dec 31(8pm), Jan 2(8pm), 4(3pm). CANCELLED

Thursday December 30

● 7:30: COSA Canada. The Pirates of Penzance.

Libretto by W. S. Gilbert. Music by

Arthur Sullivan. Libretto adapted by Renée

Salewski. Jacob Abrahamse, tenor (Frederic);

Amy Moodie, soprano (Mabel); Nolan Kehler,

tenor (Major General Stanley); Cristina Lanz,

mezzo (Ruth); Ryan Hofman, baritone (Pirate

King); Renée Salewksi, stage director; Darryl

Edwards, music director. 647-272-6232. $20.11

or PWYC. Also Dec 31, Jan 1(2pm) & 2(7:30pm).


● 8:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Dec 31, 2021;

Jan 2, 2022.

Friday December 31

● 1:30: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also Jan 2, 2022.

● 7:30: COSA Canada. The Pirates of Penzance.

See Dec 30. Also Jan 1(2pm) & 2(7:30pm).


● 8:00: Toronto Operetta Theatre. A Waltz

Dream. See Dec 29. CANCELLED

Saturday January 1

● 2:00: COSA Canada. The Pirates of Penzance.

See Dec 30. Also Jan 2(7:30pm).




January 1 • 2:30 pm

Roy Thomson Hall

● 2:30: Attila Glatz Concert Productions.

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert. Sera

Gösch, soprano; Gergely Boncsér, tenor;

Strauss Symphony of Canada; Europaballett;

International Champion Ballroom

Dancers; Peter Guth, conductor. Roy Thomson

Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-872-4255 or

www.roythomsonhall.com. $75-$185. Also

Jan 2(Hamilton).

Sunday January 2

● 2:00: Mirvish Productions. Jesus Christ

Superstar. See Dec 8. Also 8pm.

● 2:30: Attila Glatz Concert Productions.

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert. Sera

Gösch, soprano; Gergely Boncsér, tenor;

Strauss Symphony of Canada; Europaballett;

International Champion Ballroom Dancers;

Peter Guth, conductor. FirstOntario Concert

Hall, 1 Summers Ln., Hamilton. 905-546-

4040 x0 or ticketmaster.ca. $50-$126. Also

Jan 1(Toronto).

28 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com

● 7:30: COSA Canada. The Pirates of Penzance.


FEB 6, 2022.

● 8:00: Toronto Operetta Theatre. A Waltz

Dream. See Dec 30. CANCELLED

Tuesday January 4

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Tribute to Louis Armstrong. Byron Stripling,

leader/trumpet/vocals. Roy Thomson

Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-

593-7769. Starting at $56, Matinee starting

at $41. Also Jan 5-2 & 8pm. Also available

as a live stream Jan 4-8pm. www.TSO.CA/


Wednesday January 5

● 12:30: ORGANIX Concerts. Adrian Ross. All

Saints Kingsway Anglican Church, 2850 Bloor

St. W. 416-571-3680 or www.organixconcerts.ca.

Freewill offering - $20 suggested.

● 2:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Tribute

to Louis Armstrong. Byron Stripling,

leader/trumpet/vocals. Roy Thomson Hall,

60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-

7769. Starting at $56, Matinee starting at $41.

Also at 8pm. Also available as a live stream

Jan 4(8pm). TSO.CA/Livestreams.

Friday January 7

● 7:30: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Bach’s Brandenburg & More. Jonathan Crow,

leader/violin; Chelsea Gu, violin; Kelly Zimba,

Leonie Wall, flute; Sarah Jeffrey, oboe and

others. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-

598-3375 or 1-855-593-7769. Starting at $29.

Also Jan 8(8pm), 9(3pm).

● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony

Orchestra. Elegance and Emotion. Rameau:

Suite de danses from Platée; Ravel: Piano

Concerto in G; Schubert: Symphony No.4 in

c “Tragic”. David Greilsammer, conductor/

piano. 519-745-4711 or 1-888-745-4717. $15-

$100 per stream. Available Jan 7(8pm) to

Jan 9(11:59pm). Purchase 1 stream per


Saturday January 8

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Bach’s Brandenburg & More. Jonathan Crow,

leader/violin; Chelsea Gu, violin; Kelly Zimba,

Leonie Wall, flute; Sarah Jeffrey, oboe and

others. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-

598-3375 or 1-855-593-7769. Starting at $29.

Sunday January 9

● 3:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Bach’s Brandenburg & More. Jonathan Crow,

leader/violin; Chelsea Gu, violin; Kelly Zimba,

Leonie Wall, flute; Sarah Jeffrey, oboe and

others. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-

598-3375 or 1-855-593-7769. Starting at $29.

● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber

Music Society. Chamber Music Concert.

Bach: Sonata No.1; Ysaÿe: Sonata No.4; Schubert:

Erlkönig; Ysaÿe: Sonata No.2; Bach: Partita

No.2. Kerson Leong, solo violin. First

United Church (Waterloo), 16 William St. W.,

Waterloo. 519-569-1809 or www.ticketscene.ca/kwcms.

$35; $20(st).

Monday January 10

● 10:00am: Beach United Church. Jazz Lecture:

From New Orleans to Big Band Swing.

Dr. Mike Daley. 140 Wineva Ave. www.eventbrite.ca

or 416-700-9644. $100(series);

$30(single). LIVE & LIVESTREAM

Tuesday January 11

● 12:10: Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

Lunchtime Chamber Music: Rising Stars

Recital. Featuring students from the Glenn

Gould School. 1585 Yonge St. 416-922-1167.

Free admission. Donations welcome.

Wednesday January 12

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: Gould’s Wall. Brian Current,

composer/conductor; Philip Akin, director;

Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble.

Atrium, Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St.

W. 416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/

performance. $21-$85. Also Jan 13(6pm);

14(8pm); 15(10:30pm); 16(6pm).

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Moussa, Wagner & Dvořák. Kerson Leong,

violin; Samy Moussa, conductor. Roy Thomson

Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-

593-7769. Starting at $29. Also Jan 13, 15.

Thursday January 13

● 6:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: Gould’s Wall. Brian Current,

composer/conductor; Philip Akin, director;

Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble.

Atrium, Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.

416-408-0208 or rcmusic.com/performance.

$21-$85. Also Jan 14(8pm); 15(10:30pm);





January 13 at 8 pm

● 8:00: Music Toronto. The Bedford Trio and The

Dior Quartet. Katharine Petkovski: Piano Trio No.1;

Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No.1 in d Op.49; Dvořák:

String Quartet No.13 in G Op.106. The Bedford

Trio: Alessia Disimino, violin; Andrew Ascenzo,

cello; Jialiang Zhu, piano; The Dior Quartet: Noa

Sarid, violin; Tobias Elser, violin; Caleb Georges,

viola; Joanne Yesol Choi, cello. St. Lawrence Centre

for the Arts, 27 Front St. E.. 416-366-7723 or

www.music-toronto.com. $47.50-$52.

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music.

Invesco Piano Concerts Series: Viklingur

Ólafsson. Galuppi: Andante spritoso from

Piano Sonata No.9 in f; Mozart: Rondo in

F K.494; Bach: Rondo II in d H290; Cimarosa:

Sonata No.42 in d (arr. Ólafsson); Mozart:

Fantasia in d K397 (fragment) and others.

Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor St.

W. 416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/

performance. $55-$110.

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Moussa, Wagner & Dvořák. Kerson Leong,

violin; Samy Moussa, conductor. Roy Thomson

Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-

593-7769. Starting at $29. Also Jan 15.

Friday January 14

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: Gould’s Wall. Brian Current,

composer/conductor; Philip Akin, director;

Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble.

Atrium, Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.

416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/performance.

$21-$85. Also Jan 15(10:30pm);


Saturday January 15

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: ARC Ensemble: Marc

Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler. Koerner Hall,

TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208

or www.rcmusic.com/performance. $21-$85.

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Moussa, Wagner & Dvořák. Kerson Leong,

violin; Samy Moussa, conductor. Roy Thomson

Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-

593-7769. Starting at $29.

● 10:30: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: Gould’s Wall. Brian Current,

composer/conductor; Philip Akin, director;

Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble.

Atrium, Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.

416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/performance.

$21-$85. Also Jan 16(6pm).

Sunday January 16

● 1:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: Morgan-Paige Melbourne.

Mazzoleni Concert Hall, Royal Conservatory,

273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. Free.

● 2:30: Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing

Arts. Faculty Artist Series DAN School:

Isabel Quartet with Sadaf Amini. Burge: Shiraz,

for Santur and String Quartet (premiere);

Haydn: String Quartet in A Op.20 No.6;

Beethoven: String Quartet in F Op. 59 No.1.

390 King St. W., Kingston. 613-533-2424 or ibcpaboxoffice@queensu.ca.

TBA on sale Nov 1.

● 6:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: Gould’s Wall. Brian Current,

composer/conductor; Philip Akin, director;

Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble.

Atrium, Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W.

416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/performance.


● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber

Music Society. Piano Concert. Scarlatti: Four

Sonatas; Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.22 in

F Op.54; Franck: Prélude, Choral et Fugue

FWV 21; Busoni: Piano Sonatina No. 6 (Fantasia

da camera super Carmen); Castellanos:

Mañanita Caragueña; and other works.

Michael Lewin, piano. First United Church,

16 William St. W., Waterloo. 519-569-1809 or

www.ticketscene.ca/kwcms. $30; $20(st).

Tuesday January 18

● 12:10: Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

Lunchtime Chamber Music: Rising Stars

Recital. Featuring students from the Glenn

Gould School. 1585 Yonge St. 416-922-1167.

Free admission. Donations welcome.

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival & Music on Film Series: Kronos

Quartet on Film: A Thousand Thoughts. A live

documentary with the Kronos Quartet; written

and directed by Sam Green and Joe Bini.

Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor St. W.

416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/performance.


Wednesday January 19

● 12:00 noon: ORGANIX Concerts. Peter

Nikiforuk. All Saints Kingsway Anglican

Church, 2850 Bloor St. W. 416-571-3680 or

www.organixconcerts.ca. Suggested freewill

offering of $20.

● 2:30: Niagara Symphony Orchestra.

Invisible Cities. Dinuk Wijeratne: Invisible

Cities, Concerto for Percussion Quartet and

Orchestra(world premiere of orchestra version);

Glinka: Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture;

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade. TorQ

Percussion Quartet; Bradley Thachuk, conductor.

Partridge Hall, FirstOntario Performing

Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul St., St.

Catharines. www.niagarasymphony.com

or 905-688-0722 or 905-688-5601 x3700

or 1-855-515-0722. $68; $60(sr); $39(arts

worker); $15(st & youth).

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Mendelssohn’s “Reformation”. Eric Abramovitz,

clarinet; Miles Jacques, basset horn;

Maxim Emelyanchev, conductor. Roy Thomson

Hall, 60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or

1-855-593-7769. Starting at $29. Also

Jan 20, 22.

Thursday January 20

● 7:00: Magisterra at the Museum/Museum

London. Holocaust: Composers in Exile. Eisler:

“Reisesonate”; Veprik: Suite; Schoenberg:

Phantasy; Kahn: Piano Trio. Catalina Teican,

piano. Museum London, 421 Ridout St. N., London.

www.eventbrite.ca. $35; $30(sr); $15(st

with id); $95(young adult pass-30 and under);

from $15(streamed tickets). All tickets must

be purchased in advance.

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: Kronos Quartet with

students from The Glenn Gould School: Fifty

Forward. Mazzoleni Concert Hall, Royal Conservatory,

273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. $21.

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mendelssohn’s

“Reformation”. Eric Abramovitz,

clarinet; Miles Jacques, basset horn; Maxim

Emelyanchev, conductor. Roy Thomson Hall,

60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-

7769. Starting at $29. Also Jan 22.

Friday January 21

● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music

Society. Chamber Music Concert. R. Strauss:

Violin Sonata in E-flat Op.18. Lucy Zhang, violin;

TBA, piano. First United Church, 16 William

St. W., Waterloo. 519-569-1809 or www.ticketscene.ca/kwcms.

$35; $20(st).

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music.

21C Music Festival Series: Kronos Quartet

- Music for Change. Reich: “Pendulum

Music”(Canadian premiere); Traditional: Star-

Spangled Banner (inspired by Jimi Hendrix,

arr. Stephen Prutsman & Kronos), Raghupati

Raghava Raja Ram (arr. Kronos Quartet)

(Canadian premiere); Becker: No More (Canadian

premiere); Haskell: God Shall Wipe All

Tears Away (arr. Jacob Garchik)(Ontario premiere).

Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor

St. W. 416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/

performance. $21-$105.

● 8:00: Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 29

Events by Date | December 8, 2021 to January 28, 2022

years on



FRI JAN 21, 2022 at 8pm

Guido Basso, Heather Bambrick,

Mike Murley, Robi Botos, Dave

Young, and Davide Direnzo.


Canadian Jazz All-Stars. Guido Basso, Heather

Bambrick, Mike Murley, Robi Botos,

Dave Young, and Davide DiRenzo. Burlington

Performing Arts Centre, Main Theatre,

440 Locust St., Burlington. 905-681-6000.

$59.50; $49.50(member).

● 8:00: Sinfonia Toronto. Mozart & Janáček:

Nostalgia. Mozart: Piano Concerto No.22;

Jocelyn Morlock: Nostalgia; Bologne: String

Quartet in D Op.1 No.6; Janáček: Kreutzer

Sonata. Artun Miskciyan, piano; Nurhan

Arman, conductor. Jane Mallett Theatre, St.

Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E.

In person 416-366-7723; virtual 416-499-0403

or www.sinfoniatoronto.com. In-person:

$55.97; $48.06(sr); $20.96(st); Livestream:


Saturday January 22

● 5:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival Series: 21C Cinq à Sept: Eve

Egoyan. Egoyan: Seven Studies for Augmented

Piano (world premiere). Temerty

Theatre, Telus Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-

408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/performance.


● 7:30: Guitar Society of Toronto. In Concert:

Daniela Rossi. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian

Church, 73 Simcoe St. www.

guitarsocietyoftoronto.com or 416-964-8298.

Advance: $35; $30(sr); $15(st); Door: $40;

$35(sr); $20(st).

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival & Chamber Music Series:

Danish String Quartet. Sørenson: Quartet

“Doppelgänger” (inspired by Schubert D887)

(Ontario premiere); An alleged suite, a curated

suite of dances; Schubert: String Quartet

No.15 in G D887. Koerner Hall, TELUS

Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. $21-$90.

● 8:00: Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Mendelssohn’s

“Reformation”. Eric Abramovitz,

clarinet; Miles Jacques, basset horn; Maxim

Emelyanchev, conductor. Roy Thomson Hall,

60 Simcoe St. 416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-

7769. Starting at $29. Also Jan 19, 20.

Sunday January 23

● 2:30: VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert. Vanessa.

Music by Samuel Barber. Libretto by


Gian Carlo Menotti. Simona Genga, mezzo;

Lauren Margison, soprano; Scott Rumble,

tenor; Robert Cooper, chorus director; Narmina

Afandiyeva, music director/piano. Jane

Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the

Arts, 27 Front St. E. stlc.com and 416-366-

7723 or 1-800-708-6754.

● 3:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. 21C

Music Festival & Power Corporation of Canada

Vocal Concerts: Gerald Finley with Julius

Drake. Schubert: Songs; Wolf: Songs from the

Mörike Lieder; Turnage: Without Ceremony

(North American premiere); Shakespeare in

Love. Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre, 273 Bloor

St. W. 416-408-0208 or www.rcmusic.com/

performance. $21-$90.

years on



SUN JAN 23, 2022 at 7pm

“Anne Carrere can miraculously

revive Piaf’s spirit”

– New York Times



● 7:00: Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Piaf! The Show. Anne Carrere, vocalist.

Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Main

Theatre, 440 Locust St., Burlington. 905-681-

6000. $59.50; $49.50(member).

Tuesday January 25

● 12:10: Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

Lunchtime Chamber Music: Angus Sinclair

- Ragtime! 1585 Yonge St. 416-922-1167. Free

admission. Donations welcome.


January 25 at 8 pm




● 8:00: Music Toronto. Vanessa Benelli

Mosell, Piano. Beethoven: Piano Sonata

No.16 in G Op.31 No.1; Medtner: Fairy Tales

Op.20 No.1; Medtner: Forgotten Melodies

Op.38 No.6 “Canzona Serenata”; Liszt: Réminiscences

de Norma; Bellini (arr. Thalberg):

Casta diva from Norma; Rossini (arr. Ginzburg):

Largo al factotum from Il barbiere di

Siviglia. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts,

27 Front St. E. 416-366-7723 or www.musictoronto.com.


Wednesday January 26

● 10:00am: Royal Conservatory of Music.

Discovery Series: Glenn Gould School Concerto

Competition Finals. Koerner Hall, TELUS

Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. Free.

● 12:30: ORGANIX Concerts. Alexander

Straus-Fausto. Our Lady Of Sorrows Catholic

Church, 3055 Bloor St. W. 416-571-3680 or

www.organixconcerts.ca. Suggested freewill

offering of $20.

Thursday January 27

● 8:00: Royal Conservatory of Music. World

Music Series: Mariza. Koerner Hall, TELUS

● Arts@Home. A vibrant hub connecting

Torontonians to arts and culture. Designed to

strengthen personal and societal resilience

through the arts. www.artsathome.ca.

● Canadian Opera Company. Gianni Schicchi.

www.coc.ca/watch. Available until Apr 30,

2022. ONLINE

● Canadian Opera Company. In Concert:

Russell Braun and Tamara Wilson with the

COC Orchestra. www.coc.ca/watch. Available

until March 31, 2022. ONLINE

● Capella Regalis Men & Boys Choir. Choral

Concerts. Available at http://www.youtube.


● Church of the Holy Trinity. The Christmas

Story: A Pandemic Pageant. Susan Watson

and Eric Miller, co-directors. www.thechristmasstory.ca.

Tickets by donation ($10 suggested).

A link to the screening will be sent

via email. Available until Jan 6, 2022. ONLINE



Now streaming on


Still Available Online

Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. 416-408-0208 or

www.rcmusic.com/performance. $50-$110.

Friday January 28

● 7:30: Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Gimeno Conducts Beethoven. Jeffrey Beecher,

double bass; Gustavo Gimeno, conductor.

Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St.

416-598-3375 or 1-855-593-7769. Starting at

$29. Also Jan 29-8pm, 30-3pm George Weston

Recital Hall. Also available as a live stream

Jan 28(8pm). www.TSO-CA/Livestreams.

● 8:00: Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber

Music Society. Ensemble Made in Canada.

Beethoven: Piano Quartet No.1 in E-flat WoO

36; Stewart Goodyear: Piano Quartet No.1;

Saint-Saëns: Piano Quartet No.2 in B-flat Op.

41. First United Church (Waterloo), 16 William

St. W., Waterloo. 519-569-1809 or www.ticketscene.ca/kwcms.

$40; $25(st).

● 8:00: RBI/JAZZ-FM. An Evening with Pat

Metheny. Side-Eye with James Francies & Joe

Dyson. Meridian Hall, 1 Front St. E. www.meridianhall.com

or 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-

6754 or boxoffice@tolive.com. $72.50-$99.50.


● Etobicoke Community Concert Band. Full

rehearsals every Wednesday night at 7:30pm.

309 Horner Ave. Open to all who are looking

for a great band to join. Text Rob Hunter at


● Kevin Barrett. Live from Lockdown. Kevin

Barrett does a live-streamed set of solo guitar

tunes, coming directly from his Lockdown

studio. Tune in to Kevin’s Facebook page on

Friday at 4pm at http://www.facebook.com/



● Recollectiv: A unique musical online meeting

group made up of people affected by memory

challenges caused by illness (such as dementia)

or brain injury (stroke, PTSD, etc.) and

their care partners. Participation is free with

pre-registration. Email info@recollectiv.ca for

meeting times, information and registration.

30 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com



Continued from page 23

Canadian guitarist, Lucian Gray and his custom Americana playing Time After

Time with the Virginia MacDonald Quintet at the Emmet Ray in Toronto.

Lucian Gray

Later in the month, on December 18, The Emmet is host to guitarist

Lucian Gray. Though still young, Gray has already assembled an

impressive resume of professional achievements. A graduate of

Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Mick Goodrick, Gray

was a finalist in the 2015 Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar

Competition and a semi-finalist in the 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute

of Jazz International Guitar Competition. If the Wes Montgomery

competition wasn’t enough of a clue, it is readily apparent that Gray’s

playing is firmly rooted in a particular jazz guitar tradition. Favouring

big-box Benedetto instruments and minimal effects, Gray has a strong

command of bebop vocabulary, a full, robust tone and enough technique

to make his way confidently through a wide variety of musical

situations. All this being said, it is his sense of time that really sets

him apart. Coupled with a patient sense of phrasing that he employs

as frequently during flurries of 16th notes as he does in ballads, Gray’s

propulsive, confident rhythmic engagement with his instrument is

well worth the price of admission.

Colin Story is a jazz guitarist, writer and teacher based in Toronto.

He can be reached at www.colinstory.com, on Instagram and

on Twitter.


1184 Bloor St. W. 416-546-4033


Cameron House

408 Queen St. W. 416-703-0811


Castro’s Lounge

2116 Queen St. E. 416-699-8272


Dec 9 6pm Mike Daley & Will Reid. Dec 10

5:30pm Little Magic Sam. Dec 11 6pm Thelonious

Hank. Dec 12 3pm A Charlie Brown

Christmas, 8pm Castro’s Christmas Party.

Dec 24 5:30pm Little Magic Sam. Jan 7

5:30pm Little Magic Sam. Jan 8 6pm Thelonious

Hank. Jan 9 3pm The Delfis. Jan 14

5:30pm Fraser & Daley. Jan 15 6pm Thelonious

Hank. Jan 21 5:30pm Little Magic Sam.

Jan 22 6pm Thelonious Hank. Jan 23 3pm

Lucas Stagg. Jan 28 5:30pm Fraser & Daley.

Jan 29 6pm Thelonious Hank. Jan 30 3pm

Tim Bradford.

C’est What

67 Front St. E. 416-867-9499


In the Clubs (Mostly Jazz)

Emmet Ray, The

924 College St. 416-792-4497


All shows at 8:00 PM, unless otherwise


Dec 5 Surefire Sweat Trio. Dec 6 Chris Parnis

Group. Dec 7 The Andy Sharp Folk Series

feat. Tasha White. Dec 8 Jenna Marie Jazz.

Dec 9 Phill Tessis Series feat. The Pawn Shop.

Dec 10 Fuat Tuac. Dec 11 4:30pm Andrew

Scott, 8pm Parade. Dec 12 4:30pm Diane Roblin

Lady Finger, 8pm Tiago Cardoso & Sean

McCarthy Duo. Dec 13 Paul Callander Group.

Dec 14 Andy Sharp Series. Dec 15 Where’s

Shane w/ Benjamin Weigensberg. Dec 16 Phil

Tessis Series feat. The Pawn. Dec 18 Lucian

Gray Group. Dec 19 4:30pm Opera Revue,

8pm The Ming & Mara Show. Dec 20 Andy

Sharp Series. Dec 22 Seu & Sam Mora.

Dec 23 Phil Tessis Series feat. The Pawn.

Grossman’s Tavern

379 Spadina Ave. 416-977-7000


Dec 3 8pm Fred Spek’s Camp Combo. Dec 4

8:30pm Junction. Dec 10 6pm Kensington

Holiday Bash. Dec 16 7:30pm The Action

Sound Xmas Party, The Moving Violations.

Dec 18 8:30pm Caution Jam Xmas Party.

Hirut Cafe and Restaurant

2050 Danforth Ave. 416-551-7560


Home Smith Bar – See Old Mill, The

Hugh’s Room

2261 Dundas St. W 416-533-5483


Jazz Bistro, The

251 Victoria St. 416-363-5299


Dec 1 9pm Tanya Wills Quartet. Dec 2 9pm

Jozsef Botos Trio. Dec 3 8pm Colin Hunter

& The Joe Sealy Quartet. Dec 4 8pm Colin

Hunter & The Joe Sealy Quartet. Dec 8 6pm

John Russon Presents: Jazz Bistro’s Club

350 Jazz Jam. Dec 15 6pm John Russon Presents:

Jazz Bistro’s Club 350 Jazz Jam.

Jazz Room, The

Located in the Huether Hotel, 59 King St. N.,

Waterloo. 226-476-1565


All shows at 8:00 PM unless otherwise


Dec 3 8pm Bernie Senensky Quintet.

Dec 4 Rebecca Hennessy’s Makeshift Island.

Dec 10 Mary-Catherine Pazzano. Dec 11 Pat

LaBarbera Quartet. Dec 17 Tom Nagy’s Christmas

Experience. Dec 18 Jason White Christmas

Special. Dec 29 8pm Indigenous Artist

Showcase – 5 Artists, 5 Cities. Dec 31 8pm

New Year’s Eve with Gigi Marentette, KC Roberts,

and Adam Bowman.

Lula Lounge

1585 Dundas St. W. 416-588-0307


Check website for exact times; typically,

doors open at 7pm, salsa dance lessons at

8:30pm, music begins at 9pm.

Dec 3 Cuban Salsa Fridays: Charangon

Del Norte. Dec 4 Salsa Saturdays: Sean

Bellaviti & Conjunto Lacalu w/ DJ Trambo.

Dec 10 Salseros with Attitutde w/ Sebastian

Natal and DJ Suave. Dec 11 Salsa Saturdays:

Ricardo Barboza & DJ Trambo.

Dec 17 Salsa Saturdays: Yani Borrell w/ DJ

Suave. Dec 18 Salsa Saturdays: Son D’Aqui w/

DJ Trambo.

Manhattans Pizza Bistro & Music Club

951 Gordon St., Guelph 519-767-2440


Dec 2 6:30pm Joe Lucchetta. Dec 4 7pm Emily

Kemp + Rob Christian. Dec 9 6:30pm Joe Lucchetta.

Dec 10 7pm Belays Jazz Trio. Dec 11

7pm D’eve Archer. Dec 16 6:30pm Emily Kemp

+ Rob Christian. Dec 17 7pm Steven Taetz Trio.

Dec 18 7pm Belays Jazz Trio.

Mezzetta Restaurant

681 St. Clair Ave. W. 416-658-5687


Monarch Tavern

12 Clinton St. 416-531-5833


Nice Bistro, The

117 Brock St. N., Whitby. 905-668-8839


Old Mill, The

21 Old Mill Rd. 416-236-2641


The Home Smith Bar:

Pilot Tavern, The

22 Cumberland Ave. 416-923-5716


Poetry Jazz Café

224 Augusta Ave. 416-599-5299


Reposado Bar & Lounge

136 Ossington Ave. 416-532-6474


Reservoir Lounge, The

52 Wellington St. E. 416-955-0887


Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar, The

194 Queen St. W. 416-598-2475


Dec 1 5:30pm Trevor Giancola Quartet,

8:30pm Mike Downes Quartet. Dec 2 5:30pm

Kevin Quain, 8:30pm Mike Downes Quartet.

Dec 3 5:30pm Xmas w/ Kayla & Hannah,

8:30pm Mike Downes Quartet. Dec 4 5:30pm

Neon Eagle, 8:30pm Mike Downes Quartet.

Dec 5 5:30pm Keith Barstow Group, 8:30pm

Harley Card Group. Dec 6 5:30pm U of T Student

Jazz Ensembles, 8:30pm Harley Card

Group. Dec 7 5:30pm Paul Reddick Blues,

8:30pm Alan Heatherington – From Rio with

Love. Dec 8 5:30pm Trevor Giancola Quartet,

8:30pm Ernesto Cervini & Turboprop. Dec 9

5:30pm Kevin Quain, 8:30pm Ernesto Cervini

& Turboprop. Dec 10 5:30pm Emily Schultz,

8:30pm Ernesto Cervini & Turboprop. Dec 11

5:30pm Neon Eagle, 8:30pm Ernesto Cervini

& Turboprop. Dec 12 5:30pm Ketih Barstow

Group, 8:30pm Ted Warren Group.

Dec 13 5:30pm Peter Hill Group, 8:30pm Ted

Warren Group. Dec 14 5:30pm Paul Reddick

Blues, 8:30pm Chris Gale Hosts the Classic

Rex Jazz Jam. Dec 15 5:30pm Trevor Giancola

Quartet, 8:30pm Alison Young Quartet.

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 31

Dec 16 5:30pm Fabio Ragnelli Group, 8:30pm

Alison Young Quartet. Dec 17 5:30pm Xmas

w/ Kayla and Hannah, 8:30pm Alison Young

Quartet. Dec 18 5:30pm Justin Bacchus Collective,

8:30pm Alison Young Quartet. Dec 19

5:30pm Keith Barstow Group, 8:30pm Donnybrook

Organ Trio. Dec 20 5:30pm Peter Hill

Group, 8:30pm Donnybrook Organ Trio.

Dec 21 5:30pm Paul Reddick Blues, 8:30pm

Chris Gale Hosts the Classic Rex Jazz Jam.

Dec 22 5:30pm Trevor Giancola Quartet,

8:30pm Trevor Hogg w/ Lucas Dann.

Dec 23-25 Closed. Dec 26 5:30pm Keith Barstow

Group, 8:30pm JabFung. Dec 27 5:30pm

Peter Hill Group, 8:30pm JabFung. Dec 28

5:30pm Paul Reddick Blues, 8:30pm Chris

Gale Hosts the Classic Rex Jazz Jam. Dec 29

If you can read this,

thank a music teacher.

(Skip the hug.)




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In the Clubs (Mostly Jazz)

5:30pm Trevor Giancola Quartet, 8:30pm

Mike Deicont’s Northern Danger. Dec 30

5:30pm Fabio Ragnelli Group.

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AUDITIONS are currently underway for

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yourself to private sight-singing lessons,

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32 | December 2021 thewholenote.com


Under the tab WHO’S WHO at THEWHOLENOTE.COM, you’ll find our

four directories containing detailed profiles about active participants in

four areas of community life. In our Blue Pages you can read about music

makers and presenters; in our Canary Pages you’ll find the riches of choral

activity all across southern Ontario. You can also find information about

summer music performance in our Green Pages, and about seasonal

learning opportunities in Summer Music Education.

Traditionally we published a single annual print supplement for each of

these: The Blue Pages in the fall, Summer Music Education in late winter,

The Canary Pages in May, and The Green Pages in early summer.) But

these days it’s more useful to allow for rolling deadlines for all concerned,

so we’ve moved these directories entirely online. This means that directory

participants a) can wait till their plans for the season have taken shape, and

b) revise them as frequently as necessary, as restrictions governing venues

and live performance continue to adjust, hopefully for the better!

So what follows here is an up-to-the-moment list (as of November 2021)

of whom you will currently find in The Blue Pages. Profiles are being

added or, as importantly, are being updated on a weekly basis. And while

most of the Green Pages and Summer Music Education participants’ activities

have ended for this year, we’ll keep their 2021 profiles online for your

awareness and future planning, until they are updated in the new year.

This index in our print edition serves two distinct purposes.

It tells you who is sufficiently far along in their planning to have joined

the directories, and it offers you a handy way to window-shop their

websites directly - via the website addresses that accompany every name in

the index.

This is particularly easy to do – just with a “click” if you explore these

pages while reading The WholeNote in our online flipthrough edition,

accessible via kiosk.thewholenote.com.

So happy browsing! If you have any questions about the directories,

either as a reader or prospective directory member, contact me at karen@


Karen Ages, directory and member services


● = NEW!

● Etobicoke Community Concert Band


● New Music Concerts


● Toronto Consort


● Aga Khan Museum


● Art of Time Ensemble


● Attila Glatz Concert Productions

(Salute to Vienna)


● Azrieli Foundation


● Barrie Concert Association


● Barrie Concert Band


● Canadian Music Centre


● Canadian Opera Company


● Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra


● Chorus Niagara


● Church of St. Mary Magdalene


● Counterpoint Community Orchestra


● DaCapo Chamber Choir


● Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western U


● Edison Singers


● Elmer Iseler Singers


● Ensemble Vivant


● Estonian Studies Centre


● Etobicoke Centennial Choir


● Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra


● Evergreen Club Contemporary



● Glionna Mansell Corporation


● Hannaford Street Silver Band


● INNERchamber Inc.


● Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing



● Jubilate Singers


● Ken Page Memorial Trust


● Kindred Spirits Orchestra


● Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory

of Music


● Mississauga Chamber Singers


● Mississauga Symphony Orchestra


● MOSAIC Canadian Vocal Ensemble


● Music at Metropolitan


● Music at St. Andrew’s


● Music in the Afternoon (Women’s

Musical Club of Toronto)


● Music Gallery


● Music Toronto


● Nine Sparrows Arts Foundation


● Nocturnes in the City


● Off Centre Music Salon


● Opera Atelier


● Orchestra Toronto


● ORGANIX Concerts


● Pax Christi Chorale


● Peterborough Singers


● Royal Canadian College of Organists,

Toronto Centre


● Sine Nomine Ensemble for Medieval



● SoundCrowd


● Soundstreams


● St. Michael’s Choir School


● Tafelmusik


● Tapestry Opera


● That Choir


● Toronto Chamber Choir


● Toronto Choral Society


● Toronto Classical Singers


● Toronto Mendelssohn Choir


● Toronto Mozart Players


● Toronto Operetta Theatre


● Toronto Symphony Orchestra


● Trio Arkel


● University of Toronto Faculty of Music


● Upper Canada Choristers


● Vesnivka Choir


● VOCA Chorus of Toronto


● Voicebox: Opera in Concert


● Wychwood Clarinet Choir


● Yorkminster Park Baptist Church


Arts Services

● Agence Station Bleue


● Eric Alper Public Relations


● International Resource Centre for

Performing Artists


● Linda Litwack Publicity



thewholenote.com December 2021 | 33



For the past month or so I’ve been

immersing myself in new cello recordings.

Some of the repertoire selections are

old friends, some new to me and some

new to the world. Benedict Kloeckner: J.S.

Bach – 6 Suites for Cello Solo (Brilliant

Classics 96403 naxosdirect.com/search/

bri96403) encompasses the old and the new

brilliantly, with striking performances of the

suites interspersed with miniatures he has commissioned that “can

be seen as a response to the challenges of the present [pandemic]

in interaction with the Bach suites.” Kloeckner’s Bach, idiomatic

contemporary interpretations on a modern instrument, ranges from

breakneck speed such as in the Prelude of the first suite to thoughtful

and contemplative pacing in the Sarabande of the second; sometimes

playful, but always carefully considered, with tasteful ornamentations

and occasional surprising rubato passages, such as in the Bourée of

the third suite. What makes this 3CD set special though is the new

works and how they bridge and complement the original suites. The

composers represent an international spectrum: José L. Elizondo

(Mexico), Elena Kats-Chernin (Australia), Bongani Ndodana-Breen

(South Africa), Éric Tanguy (France), Geoffrey Gordon (USA) and Dai

Fujikura (Japan).

My first few times through the set I simply let the CDs play and

enjoyed the commissions as interludes, kind of palette cleansers,

before rushing into the next Bach suite. Sometime later however, I

listened to the six miniatures in isolation and was pleasantly surprised

to find that they made a satisfying suite themselves. Elizondo’s Under

the Starlit Sky of the Rhine specifically references the sixth suite,

albeit in passing, and pays tribute to the landscape of Kloeckner’s

home region, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. In I Am Cello, Kats-

Chernin compares the slow opening to the blossoming of a flower and

describes the lyrical miniature as “almost a song.” Ndodana-Breen,

who had an active role in Toronto’s contemporary music scene in the

early 2000s, says that Soweto Cello Riffs combines elements of

Afropop and South African jazz, although not overtly. Tanguy’s In

Between “addresses how emotions during the pandemic have vacillated

constantly between uncertainty and hope.” In Gordon’s Nes

qu’on porroit, from Machaud’s song “It is no more possible to count

the stars […] than it is to imagine or conceive of the great desire I have

to see you.” The composer says he was thinking of past pandemics

– Black Death, Italian Plague, Spanish Flu – in relation to COVID-19.

Although most of these new works make little direct use of Bach’s

material, coming full circle Fujikura’s Sweet Suites opens with echoes

of the prelude of the sixth Bach suite, but in a minor key, and after

brief hints at other movements, dissolves into a quiet and lyrical coda

which rises and fades away into the ether. Kloeckner and his

colleagues have provided a beautiful new take on Bach’s masterpieces.

Young South Korean-American cellist Jonah

Kim begins Approaching Autumn (Delos


with what I feel is the most

important solo cello work of the first half of

the 20th century and perhaps the most

significant contribution to the genre since

Bach, Zoltan Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello

Op.8 from 1915. In his very personal introduction

to the disc, Kim tells us that he considers Janos Starker one of

his biggest musical influences. He started corresponding with Starker

when he was seven years old after hearing Starker’s Delos recording of

the Kodály sonata and later was able to study with him. Starker had

impeccable Kodály credentials having first played the solo sonata for

the composer when his was 15 in his (and Kodály’s) homeland,

Hungary, and then again in 1967 shortly before Kodály’s death. After

that performance Kodály told Starker: “If you correct the ritard in the

third movement, it will be the Bible performance.” Starker recorded

the work four times, the last in 1970 and it is this one that later

appeared on the Delos release. So may we assume the correction was

made? At any rate, Kim’s own performance is outstanding – big,

brash and gritty as called for in the outer movements; sensitive and

lyrical in the Adagio (con gran espressione) – and his technique in

this extremely challenging work is impressive. Kim is joined by

pianist Robert Koenig for the remainder of the disc; the one-movement

post-Romantic title work by American Mark Abel (b.1948)

providing a kind of a bridge to Grieg’s Sonata for Cello and Piano

Op.36 which concludes this excellent disc.

Bach was not the first to write for solo cello

and Hannah Collins’ Resonance Lines

(Sono Luminus DSL-92252 sonoluminus.

com) opens with a Chiacona by Giuseppe

Colombi (1635-1694) which predates the

Bach suites by half a century. This sets the

stage for a recital of mostly contemporary

works: two by Kaija Saariaho, the brief

Dreaming Chaconne and Sept Papillons;

in manus tuas by Caroline Shaw, which draws on the Thomas Tallis

motet of the same name; and Benjamin Britten’s Sonata for Solo Cello

No.1, Op.72. The last track travels across two and a half centuries:

Thomas Kotcheff’s Cadenza (with or without Haydn), a 25-minute

work written in 2020 meant to serve (or not) as a cadenza for Haydn’s

Cello Concerto in C Major from 1761.

Listening to this piece led to the realization of how a cadenza – traditionally

a composed or improvised interlude in a concerto giving the

soloist an opportunity show off – differs from a stand-alone work that

needs to provide its own context and development. Collins tells us that

“Kotcheff’s work contains musical nods to the other works on the

album and ties everything together in an energetic and surprise-filled

adventure.” It certainly does that. When listening to the disc before

reading the program notes, one of those surprises was hearing

Britten’s solo sonata, which I consider another milestone in the solo

cello repertoire, quoted in a work “about” Haydn. The notes also give

this a context however. It seems that Britten wrote a cadenza for

Rostropovich for the same Haydn concerto and the result can be heard

in a 1964 recording with Britten conducting “Slava” and the English

Chamber Orchestra (it’s well worth searching out on YouTube).

Collins rises to all the various challenges of the diverse repertoire on

this collection, especially those of the “cadenza” which requires everything

from virtuosic bombast to the most subtle intimacy.

It is fitting that Collins’ disc ends with a

contemporary cadenza inspired by one of

the first great cello concertos because that

leads us to Remembering – Nørgård &

Saariaho Cello Concertos (BIS-2602 bis.se)

featuring Jakob Kullberg. Kullberg (b.1979,

Denmark) has worked extensively with both

these composers and all of Per Nørgård’s

cello writing in past 20 years has been dedicated

to him. The two works by that Danish master recorded here,

however, were written more than three decades ago when Kullberg

was just a child. Between (1985) is a three-movement work in which

the cellist begins in isolation, “unable to unite with the orchestral

sound,” but is gradually able to integrate with the larger group with

the help of four solo cellos from the orchestra. At one point the din

from the larger group even includes the sound of car horns reminiscent

of the prelude to Ligeti’s Grand Macabre. The second movement

sees a gradual integration of the cello into the slow-moving textures

of the orchestra. In the extended third movement, the cello takes a

more traditional role but with a twist: the solo line is based on notes

34 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

from the Javanese pentatonic scale slendro, giving it an exotic edge.

Remembering Child was composed as a viola concerto in 1986 but

is presented here in Kullberg’s adaptation for cello, including a new

cadenza of his own design. The work honours Samantha Smith, an

American schoolgirl, peace activist and child actress famous during

the Cold War, who was killed in a plane crash at 13 in 1985, although

Nørgård says the piece isn’t intended as a requiem.

The two works by Nørgård provide bookends for Finnish composer

Kaija Saariaho’s Notes on Light written two decades later (2006). The

first movement, Translucent, secret, takes place as if under water,

picking up where her previous work for cello and orchestra Amers left

off. After a “heated debate” between cello and orchestra in the second

movement, On Fire, the gentler Awakening, which draws on material

from Saariaho’s oratorio La Passion de Simone, includes a quiet twominute-long

cadenza in the higher reaches of the cello composed by

Kullberg. It’s becoming obvious why these composers are happy to

work with this creative soloist. As Aleksi Barrière’s detailed program

note points out, at this point we might think that the concerto is over,

as an inversion of the tradition three-movement form, here slow-fastslow,

has been completed. But there are two more movements to

come. Kullberg gets a rest though in the shimmering fourth movement

Eclipse, and then re-enters quietly for the final, Heart of Light,

which glimmers and gradually builds, only to subside into quietude

again. That’s actually how all three of these concertos end, “not with a

bang, but a whimper.” There are more than enough bangs along the

way however to hold our attention and make for a satisfying disc.

Sometimes I wonder if it is possible to write

for solo cello without referencing the iconic

Bach Suites. Certainly Margaret Maria, in her

most recent release Where Words Fail – Music

for Healing (margaretmariamusic.com) does

so in the opening track with arpeggiation

reminiscent of the first Prelude, but it feels

natural and is only one of its many dense

layers. As with previous releases, Maria’s

music is lush and melodic, using many overlaid

solo cello lines to create an orchestral atmosphere that is warm and

welcoming. The current offering is the result of personal trauma, a

response to almost losing her sister, who was on a ventilator and in a

medically induced coma for more than two weeks as a result of COVID-

19. The resulting compositions bear such names as Blessing of Awakening

(written in advance of, and in hope for, her sister’s return to consciousness),

Raindrops from Heaven (with an ostinato reminiscent of

Pachelbel’s Canon) and From the Brink (with a fluttering bed track and

eerie harmonics ultimately resolving into peaceful pizzicato under a

gentle rising motif that resembles a hymn of praise). The disc (actually a

digital release) concludes with the gentle Turning Broken into Beautiful,

a meditative wash of soothing colours over Pachelbel-like pizzicato bass,

providing a joyful resolution to this healing journey. Maria provides real

comfort for these terrible times.

The next work, which I would also consider

healing music, is a string quartet that starts

with an extended, somewhat melancholy

duet between cello and viola. Chinese-born

US-based composer Huang Ruo composed

A Dust in Time (Bright Shiny Things brightshiny.ninja)

as a response to the worldwide

COVID pandemic. It is a meditative and

cathartic work written in collaboration with

the Del Sol Quartet who first performed it using the labyrinth of

Grace Cathedral in San Francisco as its stage, livestreaming the

premiere from the empty church. In the booklet notes – the booklet is

actually a colouring book featuring stylized mandalas created especially

for this project by high school student Felicia Lee – we learn that

the first performance was preceded by an open-air rehearsal for a few

friends in the park across the street from the cathedral. “Soon we were

joined by passersby who paused with their dogs and strollers to listen

as Huang Ruo’s hour-long palindromic passacaglia grew from silence

to euphoria and then faded back into the wind, sirens and jackhammers

of the city.” Listening to this recording in the relative quiet of my

home I have to imagine the Cage-ian ambience of that experience, but

the arc of the music is immersive and compelling, and indeed cathartic.

The Del Sol Quartet are tireless champions of contemporary

music and in the last three decades have commissioned or premiered

literally thousands of works from such composers as Terry Riley, Chen

Yi, Mason Bates, Pamela Z and Gabriela Lena Frank to name just a few.

You can find excerpts on YouTube of another project Huang Ruo has

been working on through the pandemic – a production of M. Butterfly

in collaboration with playwright Henry David Hwang for the Santa

Fe Opera.

Many readers will be aware of my affection

for Schubert’s Winterreise in its many

and varied interpretations, including Hans

Zender’s contemporary chamber orchestra

setting, replete with bells and whistles,

and Philippe Sly and the Chimera Project’s

reworking with klezmer ensemble. All of the

versions I have encountered maintain the

melody line more or less intact, and feature

a voice of one range or another. When I encountered Richard Krug’s

transcription for string quartet and baritone, however, I found myself

imagining a rendition in which the soloist would be a cellist. I haven’t

found a cello version yet, but this month I did encounter another

purely instrumental adaptation. Pianist Hilary Demske, creator of

Journey for One: A Winterreise Fantasy for Solo Piano (Navona

Records navonarecords.com/catalog/nv6370) is quick to point out

that it was not her intention to “arrange or improve the original work

but to offer a different lens and add my individual perspective […] to an

intimate glimpse into grief, the simple story of a young man rejected

by love [that] conveys the universal experience of searching for peace.”

She goes on to say “Foremost in my mind was the text and meaning of

Müller’s poetry. I built many pieces around individual lines that resonated

with me and reflected the overall poem, leading to increasingly

dramatic compositions and unusual techniques.” The booklet includes

the German titles and English translations of Müller’s poems (something

that even some vocal versions neglect to do) and lists the piano

preparations and other instruments employed on each track. These

include such extraneous materials as timpani mallets placed on the

piano strings, castanets, aluminum foil, drumsticks wedged between

piano strings, xylophone mallet on wood block and rubber floor mat

on strings, among others.

Devotees of traditional lieder and fans of Schubert may not get

much out of this quite extreme interpretation of Winterreise, but I

found it quite satisfying. Rather than a transcription per se, it’s an

exploration of the poems themselves in Demske’s personal voice,

during which Schubert’s melodies and rhythms occasionally shine

through, glistening like familiar gems. A particular highlight was

the antepenultimate movement Mut (Courage) which in Demske’s

percussive performance (drumsticks on woodblocks and strings) I

found reminiscent of the Baby Shark song that my young neighbours

Henry (five) and James (two) take endless delight in exuberantly


We invite submissions. CDs, DVDs and comments should be sent

to: DISCoveries, WholeNote Media Inc., The Centre for Social

Innovation, 503 – 720 Bathurst St. Toronto ON M5S 2R4.

David Olds, DISCoveries Editor


thewholenote.com December 2021 | 35




On Préludes et solitudes the Quebec violinist

Marie Nadeau-Tremblay provides one of the

best CDs of Baroque solo violin works that

I’ve encountered (ATMA Classique ACD2

2823 atmaclassique.com/en).

There’s a lightness of touch in the idiomatic

playing, with a rhythmic freedom

which adds character to the music and

which, far from weakening the sense of line

or structure actually enhances it. It’s perfectly

illustrated in the Telemann Fantasies Nos.7 in E-flat Major and 9 in B

Minor but is never absent in short works by Pedro Lopes Nogueira, J.H.

Roman, Nicola Matteis Jr., Torelli, Thomas Baltzar and Purcell, and a

terrific performance of the Passacaglia in G Minor from Biber’s Mystery

Rosary Sonatas.

Nadeau-Tremblay adds her own brief Prélude improvisé to complete

an outstanding disc.

On 12 Stradivari, violinist Janine Jansen –

who herself plays the 1715 Shumsky-Rode

Stradivari – experiences a once-in-a-lifetime

opportunity, a ground-breaking project

devised by Steven Smith of J & A Beare that

brought together in London 12 of the best

violins of Antonio Stradivari, some not played

for many years, others having belonged to the

likes of Fritz Kreisler, Nathan Milstein and Ida

Haendel. This resulting album, with pianist Antonio Pappano, music

director of the Royal Opera House, captures the individual characters of

each instrument (Decca 4851605 deccaclassics.com/en).

Unfortunately, there’s no information identifying the individual

violins. Still, no matter; Jansen’s inspired and ravishing playing of

well-known short pieces by Falla, Suk, Clara and Robert Schumann,

Vieuxtemps, Tchaikovsky, Szymanowski, Ravel, Elgar, Rachmaninoff,

Kreisler, Heuberger and Jerome Kern takes your breath away.

The entire project has been captured in the documentary film

Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari.

There have been three recent CDs of the Beethoven Violin Sonatas, two

of which complete a three-CD set of the entire canon:

Beethoven Violin Sonatas Nos. 4, 9 & 10

with Andrew Wan and Charles Richard-

Hamelin is the third issue in their Analekta

series (AN 2 8796 analekta.com/en).

Wan’s warm, smooth and expressive

playing is well-matched by Richard-

Hamelin in lovely performances of the

Sonatas No.4 in A Minor Op.23, No.9 in A

Major Op.47 “Kreutzer” and No.10 in G

Major Op.96. There’s excellent balance in a

crystal-clear recording that completes a highly satisfying set.

The last two sonatas are also featured on

Beethoven: The Violin Sonatas Nos. 8-10,

with which Frank Peter Zimmermann and

Martin Helmchen complete their series for

BIS (BIS-2537 bis.se).

A lively and dazzling reading of the

Sonata No.8 in G Major Op.30 No.3 opens

the disc, with the Op.47 “Kreutzer” and the

G Major Op.96 receiving equally animated and high-octane performances,

although sensitivity and nuance are never lacking

when needed.

The Sonata No.8 in G Major, along with

Sonatas No.6 in A Major and No.7 in C

Minor, is also featured on a CD of the three

Beethoven Sonatas Op.30, the latest release

by Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt on the

Ondine label (ODE-1392-2 ondine.net).

The publicity blurb says that these relatively

early but completely original sonatas

belong to the artists’ favourite works by

Beethoven, and it shows in every bar of beautifully judged and

nuanced performances, with the Adagio middle movement of the A

Major Sonata in particular drawing breathtakingly beautiful playing

from Tetzlaff.

On Remembering Russia the Spanish violist

Jesús Rodolfo, accompanied by pianist

Min Young Kang makes his Pentatone

label debut in a recital showcasing three

20th-century Russian composers all of

whom left their homeland (PTC 5186 287


Six selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and

Juliet, arranged by the Russian violist Vadim

Borisovsky make a strong opening to the disc.

Borisovsky also made the wonderfully effective 1950 transcription of

Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata in G Minor Op.19, a work perfectly suited

to the viola’s tonal quality and range. Rodolfo’s own transcription of

Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne “Pulcinella” completes the CD.

Rodolfo is a terrific player with a gorgeous tone. He is fully matched

here by Kang, with the Rachmaninoff in particular drawing quite

superb playing from both performers.

Heritage, another CD celebrating mid-

20th-century Russian composers, sees

the French-Russian violinist Fedor Rudin

accompanied by pianist Boris Kusnezow in

a recital of works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich

and, in particular, his own grandfather

Edison Denisov (Orchid Classics ORC100183


Denisov’s rarely heard Three Concert

Pieces Op.15 from 1958 opens a CD which also includes his short

12-tone Sonata from 1963 and the unpublished 1972 Sonatina

that marked a return to more melodic tonality. In between are

Prokofiev’s Sonata No.1 in F Minor Op.80, the incomplete Moderato

con moto movement rom Shostakovich’s unfinished 1945 Sonata in

G Minor and Rudin’s own transcription of Denisov’s orchestration

of the Prelude and Duo from Debussy’s unfinished opera Rodrigue

et Chimène.

Rachmaninoff’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Hopak completes a

terrific CD.

It’s difficult to imagine better interpretations

of Schubert’s last two string quartets – No.14

in D Minor “Death and the Maiden” D810

and the quasi-symphonic No.15 in G Major

D887 – than those by the Aviv Quartet on

Schubert: The Last Quartets (Aparté AP266


The two works were composed during the

final years of the composer’s life as he struggled

to come to terms with his own mortality. I can’t do any better

than quote the publicity release, which says that the Aviv Quartet

“brilliantly illuminates the elegiac and tragic melodies in which

Schubert wrapped his torments.” That they certainly do, in stunning

performances that grab you from the opening bars of No.15 and hold

you enthralled until the last note of the great D minor.

36 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

The Alexander String Quartet marks its

40th anniversary as well as the departure

of founding violist Paul Yarbrough with

Brahms: String Quartets, the final volume in

the ensemble’s series of the complete string

chamber works of Brahms (Foghorn Classics

FCL2022 foghornclassics.com).

Yarbrough notes that the ASQ took

decades to feel ready to record these quartets,

and they certainly get to the heart of the music in powerful

performances of strength and depth in the String Quartets in C

Minor Op.51 No.1 and in A Minor Op.51 No.2. The String Quartet

No.3 in B-flat Major Op.67 – Brahms’ favourite of the three – is bright

and playful.

A transcription of Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major Op.118 No.2 by

the ASQ’s first violinist Zakarias Grafilo completes a fine disc.

Works by the brother and sister

Mendelssohns are given committed

performances by the Takács Quartet on

Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn String

Quartets (HyperionCDA68330 hyperionrecords.co.uk/a.asp?a=A1355).

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel`s String

Quartet in E-flat Major from 1834 was

her only work in the genre and may

never have been performed in her lifetime, the score and parts not

being published by Breitkopf & Härtel until 1988. It`s now favourably

compared with quartets by her younger brother, Schubert

and Schumann.

The central work on the disc is the String Quartet in F Minor Op.80

from 1847, written by Felix in the closing months of his life and into

which he pours his grief over the death of his sister in May of that

year. His String Quartet in A Minor Op.13 from 1827 completes a

lovely disc.

The high standard set by the Dover Quartet

with its first volume of Beethoven Complete

String Quartets continues with the 3CD set

Volume 2 The Middle Quartets (Cedille CDR

90000 206 cedillerecords.org).

This release covers String Quartets No.7

in F Major Op.59 No.1, No.8 in E Minor

Op.59 No.2, No.9 in C Major Op.59 No.3 (all

commonly referred to as the Razumovsky

quartets), No.10 in E-flat Major Op.74

“Harp” and No.11 in F Major Op.95 “Serioso.”

My December 2020 review of the previous volume described the

performances as being full of conviction and depth, and noted that

this promised to be an outstanding set. There’s certainly no reason to

change those opinions.

Rhythm & the Borrowed Past features

violinist Daniel Kurganov and pianist

Constantine Finehouse performing world

premiere recordings of works by Lera

Auerbach and Richard Beaudoin, along with

works by John Cage and Olivier Messiaen

(Orchid Classics ORC100182 orchidclassics.com).

Auerbach`s Sonata No.3 for violin and

piano and Beaudoin`s In höchster Not (in deepest need) were both

written in 2005, the former a powerful and striking work that makes

an immediate impact and the latter described by the composer as

being marked by a constant evasion of stabilities, the contrapuntal

lines in all three movements not necessarily coinciding.

Cage`s very effective Nocturne from 1947 is written in fluid notation,

resulting in some performances being twice as long as others.

An outstanding performance of Messiaen`s Thème et variations from

1932 completes a top-notch CD.

On Crossroads, the Duo Dramatique –

violinist Dominika Dancewicz and pianist

Donald Doucet – presents a recital of modern

American works for violin and piano (Navona

Records NV6380 navonarecords.com/


Arthur Gottschalk’s Sonata pays homage

to the jazz violinists Stephane Grappelli,

Johnny Frigo and Joe Venuti in a delightful

work with echoes of “Bluesette” and “When Sunny Gets Blue,” and a

Bebop last movement.

Karl Blench’s Sonata “In D” (a reference to the performers’ names)

uses extreme contrasts in music meant to depict sarcasm, humour and

quiet serenity, with a virtuosic moto perpetuo Finality last movement.

Erberk Eryilmaz’s terrific Insistent Music draws on Eastern European

folk music, with percussive patterns and explosive melodic lines.

Both players are quite outstanding in a CD simply bursting with life

and energy.

The recent pandemic has provided the

impetus for numerous solo recording

projects, the latest of which to reach me is

Reger Three Suites for Solo Viola Op.131d

played by violist Tonya Burton (Tōnsehen

TSN-009 tonsehen.com).

Reger wrote the suites in 1915. They are

short four-movement works (total CD time

is only 30 minutes) which look back to

Bach, whom Reger idolized, but also forward with early-20th-century

traits. Each movement is written in Baroque or Classical form, with

Reger’s usual chromaticism balanced by lyrical melodies.

Burton calls the suites “enticing, expressive and dramatic, all the

while full of humour and charm,” qualities amply displayed in her

excellent performance.

With the 2CD set 21st Century Spanish

Guitar Vol.4 the outstanding guitarist Adam

Levin completes his 13-year commissioning

project that produced more than 30 new

works (Frameworks 793888175143


CD1 is the brilliant and striking Concierto

de La Herradura by the Cuban composer

Eduardo Morales-Caso, with the Orquesta de

Extremadura conducted by Álvaro Albiach.

CD2 features world-premiere recordings of four solo works:

Leonardo Balada’s Caprichos No.14; the bluegrass-influenced Portraits

from the Heartland by Jorge Muñiz, written in 2015 for the bicentennial

of Indiana and built on the state anthem On the Banks of

the Wabash, Far Away; José Luis Turina’s Arboretum; and Salvador

Brotons’ Sonata Sefardita Op.143, a gathering of songs in the

Sephardic tradition.

Music written specifically for the guitarist,

in this case David Tanenbaum, also features

on As She Sings, a CD showcasing works

created for him during the past five decades

(ReEntrant REN01 newfocusrecordings.com).

Sérgio Assad’s Shadows and Light is

followed by Ronald Bruce Smith’s fascinating

Five Pieces for guitar with live electronics,

in which different playing styles

combine with a range of electronic processing.

Music for Guitar is an early piece by Tanenbaum’s father Elias

Tanenbaum. Tanenbaum is joined by mezzo-soprano Wendy

Hillhouse, flute, bass and ceramic gongs for Dušan Bogdanović’s

Games, seven short settings of poetry by the Yugoslavian poet

Vasko Popa.

John Anthony Lennon’s elegiac title track completes an intriguing

and sometimes challenging disc.

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 37


La Grazia delle Donne

Miriam Leblanc; Ensemble La Cigale;

Madeleine Owen

Analekta AN 2 9159 (analekta.com/en)

! Eight books

of compositions?

Little, if any support

from the Church?

Or from a spouse?

And a woman? This

was Barbara Strozzi,

understandably the

best known female

composer of her

time (1619-1677).

It is her compositions that occupy pride

of place on this CD. Lagrime mie combines

the passion of Myriam Leblanc’s soprano

singing, the anguished lyrics of Pietro Dolfino

and the supportive yet inspiring playing of

Ensemble la Cigale to form a masterpiece of

the Italian Baroque. Masterpiece, too, is the

deserved description for Strozzi’s other piece

on the CD, Hor che Apollo, as the same musicians

master perhaps even greater achievements

with this latter text and score.

It is clear from the very first two tracks,

Isabella Leonarda’s Purpurei flores and Sonata

prima, that this CD brings together the best

in female Baroque vocal writing along with

one instrument in particular which is at last

allowed to display its versatility – the Baroque

recorder. Full credit, indeed, to Leblanc and

recorder-player Vincent Lauzer.

The prominence given to the two

composers above should not detract from the

others’ contributions. Prodigiously talented,

Vittoria Aleotti mastered the harpsichord at a

phenomenally early age. The results are very

apparent as Leblanc interprets three of her

songs, all very short but all very moving in

their musical and lyrical context.

This CD proves the presence of female

singers and, above all, female composers in

the Renaissance. It challenges preconceptions.

Michael Schwartz

Rossini – L’Equivoco Stravagante

Antonella Colaianni; Patrick Kabongo;

Giulio Mastrototaro; Emmanuel Franco;

Gorecki Chamber Choir; Virtuosi

Brunensis; Jose Miguil Perez-Sierra

Naxos DVD 2.110696 (naxosdirect.com/


! The little town

of Bad Wildbad, a

spa, is located in

the Black Forest in

Germany, a very

scenic holiday

spot with a small,

intimate opera

house and a

relaxed, but keen,

enthusiastic audience. This performance

was for the Wildbad Rossini Festival’s 30th

anniversary in 2018. L’equico Stravagante

(Curious Misunderstanding) is Rossini’s first

opera, written when he was only 19, his first

step toward becoming a master of bel canto

and an amazing career of wealth and fame

and 39 operas.

It is a two-act dramma giocoso, a farce

format that Rossini got very good at, but it ran

into difficulties at the premiere in Bologna

because its somewhat risqué libretto offended

public taste! It was cancelled after three

performances and disappeared into oblivion

until its present day revival. Risqué because

the heroine was accused of being a castrato

and a deserter to avoid military service; a

curious misunderstanding indeed!

It’s a silly story, but offers good theatricals

and lots of funny situations. The small stage

is practically bare; with ingenious lighting

effects and shifting panels as a backdrop but

filled with a youthful, energetic cast, headed

by the primadonna mezzo-soprano Antonella

Colianni and primo tenore Patrick Kabongo,

all superb voices and buoyant, delightful

music. Most notable are Rossini’s beginning

efforts of ensemble writing: duets, trios,

quartets, and a beautiful quintet: Speme

soave, ah, scenda. The first act finale is a real

showstopper with the whole cast on stage,

all singing up a total mayhem. This feature

will appear in many of his later operas and

become a Rossini trademark.

We must emphasize the Overture, a

remarkably mature work conducted by the

young, convivial José Miguel Pérez-Sierra

with vigour, hugely enjoying himself.

Janos Gardonyi

César Franck – Hulda

Soloists; Opern-und Extrachor des Theater

Freiburg; Philharmonisches Orchester

Freiburg; Fabrice Bollon

Naxos 8.660480-82 (naxosdirect.com/


! It shouldn’t have

taken until 2019 for

Hulda to receive its

first-ever complete


recorded here. César

Franck finished

his magnum opus

in 1885, but died

before its 1894 premiere in an abridged

version, as were all its few subsequent


Set in 11th-century Norway, Charles

Jean Grandmougin’s lurid, blood-spattered

libretto was based on an 1854 play

by Norwegian Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson,

1903 Nobel Prize-winner. Hulda (soprano

Meagan Miller) vows revenge on her family’s

murderers, Aslak (bass Jin Seok Lee) and his

sons. Forced to marry Aslak’s son Gudleik

(baritone Juan Orozco), at the wedding feast

she entices the king’s emissary, Eiolf (tenor

Joshua Kohl), who fights and kills Gudleik.

Hulda and Eiolf declare their love but when

Eiolf betrays her with his former lover

Swanhilde (soprano Irina Jae Eun Park),

Hulda conspires with Aslak’s remaining sons

to kill him, and Eiolf’s warriors to attack

them in return. Her vengeance complete, she

commits suicide.

Franck’s surging, vehement score, influenced

by his much-admired Wagner,

features the use of leitmotifs, fervent arias,

ecstatic Tristan-like love duets and many

opulent choruses and dances, the orchestra

often in the foreground. Conductor Fabrice

Ballon drives the 15 soloists, chorus and

orchestra with unremitting urgency, maintaining

momentum throughout the opera’s

162 minutes.

Regrettably, the 3CD set omits the

French-language libretto or English translation,

offering only an act-by-act synopsis

(Wikipedia provides a better one).

Nevertheless, I was delighted to finally hear

Franck’s incandescent Hulda just as he had


Michael Schulman

American Originals: A New World, A New


Reginald Mobley; Agave

Acis APL20445 (acisproductions.com)

! For countertenor

Reginald Mobley,

this is a deeply

personal project. In

his booklet notes,

he describes his

early years studying

music as a person of

colour, when he was

convinced that “nothing worth hearing and

knowing in classical music was ever written

by anyone who looked like me.” How better

to expose what he rightly calls the “whitewashing

of music history” than by highlighting

some remarkable, largely unknown

composers of colour? And so we have this

adventurous survey of vocal and instrumental

works from across the Americas, dating from

the Baroque to the 20th century.

In six gorgeous songs – and two instrumental

song arrangements – by Florence

Price (whose music is finally starting to

receive the attention it deserves), Mobley and

the versatile musicians of Agave convey the

impassioned vision underlying the composer’s

evocative imagery. The Brazilian priest

José Mauricio Nuñes Garcia’s exquisitely

Mozartian Te, Christe, solum novimus leaves

me wanting to hear more from this composer

(his magnificent Requiem is featured in Paul

Freeman’s landmark Black Composers Series

on Sony Classical). A virtuosic performance

of Baroque composer Esteban Salas y

Castro’s Taedet Animam Meam reveals its

sublime intensity. It’s hard to understand

why his music is so rarely heard outside his

native Cuba.

38 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

Mobley draws on seemingly endless

reserves of power and beauty. But there’s

something even more exciting going on here

– a direct, urgent connection with the music.

In this he is well matched by Agave’s vivid

colours and stylish phrasing.

Pamela Margles


Scarlatti – Essercizi Per Gravicembalo

Hank Knox

Leaf Music LM248 (leaf-music.ca)

! Hank Knox has

used the lockdown

period very fruitfully.

He spent ten

months immersed

in this, the only

authorized publication

by Domenico

Scarlatti and, to

its credit, one that

has remained in print since it was published

in 1739. Essercizi per gravicembalo is

accurately translated as Exercises for harpsichord,

underpinned by Hank Knox’s choice

of a harpsichord after the Dulcken family of

Flemish harpsichord makers.

From the start, the combination of

Scarlatti’s very lively composing, its consequently

demanding playing techniques and

the brilliance of Knox, create a solo harpsichord

masterpiece. For example, in its

complexity the Sonata in A Minor (track 3)

is reminiscent of everything J S Bach could

create. Perhaps Scarlatti and Bach learned by

listening to each other’s works.

Even the longest sonatas, such as that

in G Major (track 13) do not let up in

their demands on the harpsichordist.

This is especially true of the significantly

longer second CD. Here, the Sonata in D

Major (track 29) continues to bring out the

best in Knox.

It is rare to find a collection of pieces so

consistent throughout. Consequently, the

sheer consistent joyfulness and exhilaration

of these 30 Sonatas mean it is difficult to

isolate any particular one as being superior

to the others; we are spoiled for choice.

Born in 1685, along with Handel and

Bach, Scarlatti is by far the least recognized

composer of these three greats. The

virtuosic exuberance of his Essercizi in

this rendering makes a strong case for

diminishing the recognition gap.

Michael Schwartz

Bach – Au Pardessus de Viole

(transcriptions of diverse sonatas with


Mélisande Corriveau; Eric Milnes

ATMA ACD2 2826 (atmaclassique.com/en)

! Although relatively


today, it is not hard

to imagine pardessus

de viole being

the queen of the

instruments in

mid-18th century

France, albeit for

a short period

of time. The smallest member of the viola

da gamba family was invented in France

to counter the newcomer of that time –

the violin. Its uniquely delicate sound and

slender shape were particularly popular with

women, inspiring a slew of new compositions

and arrangements before falling off the

musical radar.

Multi-instrumentalist Mélisande Corriveau

shines spectacularly on this recent release of

selected Bach compositions adapted for pardessus

de viole. An imaginative and elegant

player, Corriveau ventures on a fine exploration

of the contemplative aspects of Bach’s

music, further enhanced by the sonic qualities

of her instrument, which, interestingly,

was made during the reign of King Louis

XV. On the other end of this musical equation

is harpsichordist Eric Milnes, an intrinsic

performer with a splendid feel for balance

and flourish. Here the voices are so finely

attuned to the nuances of Bach’s music that

we never question the fact that Bach did

not write a single piece for this instrument

and, in fact, may not have been aware of its


The album is comprised of sonatas and

trios originally for violin, viola da gamba and

organ, rich with counterpoint and dialogue

between instruments. There is a stillness and

beauty to the ensemble playing that engages

the listener on a deep level.

Ivana Popovic

Bach – Sonatas & Partitas

Fabio Biondi

naïve (highresaudio.com/en/album/view/


! These timeless

works receive a

superb and fanciful

recorded performance

from one of

the most interesting

and adventurous


alive today.

The Six Sonatas and Partitas were written

sometime between 1717 and 1723, while Bach

was employed by Prince Leopold of Anhalt-

Cöthen. The sonatas are each made up of

four substantial movements, including brilliant

and virtuosic fugues. The partitas are

jammed with a variety of dance movements

and “doubles,” the D Minor Partita

concluding with the justly renowned

extended Chaconne.

The brilliant Fabio Biondi is a celebrated

violinist, conductor and the founder of

Europa Galante who has made a specialty of

Baroque works large and small, including

recital tours with pianists, harpsichordists

and fortepianists. That said, he plays

on a fortified modern violin with technical

prowess, confidence and a big personality

that would not be mistaken for being historically

informed. He made this recording a

special project as he turned 60, saying in

the notes that he has long felt intimidated

by these towering works “so intimate, yet so

universal, so close to the essence of things and

so technically demanding as well.”

These performances are fresh, assured,

lyrical, exciting and full of vitality. Highlights

include the Presto of Sonata I, the Giga

and Chaconne of Partita II, the three enormous

fugues, the heartbreakingly nostalgic F

Major Largo of Sonata III and the Gavotte en

Rondeau of Partita III. Some of the tempi are

a little too breakneck, some of the ornamentation

is outrageous and at times the overall

sound gets a little too heavy and intense. But

this is playing with a self-assured point of

view, a big heart, a rock-solid technique and a

humble wisdom, full of respect for how these

pieces connect to the human soul. Highly


Larry Beckwith

Schumann – The Roots & The Flower:

Counterpoint in Bloom

Jens E. Christensen

Our Recordings 6.220675


! A prolific and

highly respected

composer of the

Romantic era,

Robert Schumann

wrote in a variety

of styles for a range

of instruments,

from solo piano to

large orchestra. Tucked within Schumann’s

148 opus numbers are a few works written

for the pedal piano which, rather than having

the standard three foot pedals, contained an

entirely separate keyboard, similar to that

found on pipe organs, which was manipulated

by the feet. Once a relatively common

household instrument, the pedal piano has

since become extinct, though separate foot

pedal attachments and even complete replicas

can still be found.

The presence of a pedalboard is a unique

similarity between the pedal piano and the

modern organ which has led to a number

of works for the former instrument being

adapted to the latter. Schumann’s pedal piano

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 39

works are of particular note in this regard –

their contrapuntal dexterity and complexity

are conveyed particularly well on the organ,

as demonstrated by renowned Danish

organist Jens E. Christensen.

Performing Schumann’s Six Fugues on

B-A-C-H, Op.60 and the Six Canonic Studies,

Op.56, Christensen shows Schumann at his

most cerebral, writing that is rigid in its structure

yet fluid in its harmonic style. Indeed, the

choice of the famous B-flat - A - C - B natural

motif (B-A-C-H in German note names) is a

not-too-subtle homage to Schumann’s idol.

His choice to use this theme as the source of

six independent fugues is a demonstration of

Schumann’s devotion to his craft, a flexing of

musical muscles that demonstrate his ability

to exist within a defined structure while

simultaneously expanding and manipulating

these structures to their limits.

One of the great challenges with

performing this music on the organ is the

registration, or stops and pipes, that the

organist must choose to best convey the

composer’s intentions. Christensen is heard

here on the organ in Copenhagen’s Von

Frelser Church, an instrument that is historical

both in age and temperament, best suited

to the works of Bach and earlier composers.

Despite the apparent temporal discrepancy,

this sound is exceedingly effective:

while Christensen may occasionally incorporate

one too many Baroque phrasings into

his interpretations, the combination gives

Schumann’s chromatic material the backwards-looking

realization it requires, reinforcing

the direct references to Bach and his own

contrapuntal genius.

Matthew Whitfield

Sibelius – Symphony No.3

Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal;

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

ATMA ACD2 4033 (atmaclassique.com/en)

! After gaining

world fame and

plaudits too

numerous to

mention, Yannick

Nézet Séguin is back

in Canada with

his first orchestra,

the Orchestre

Métropolitain de Montréal and, with ATMA

Classique, is in the process of recording the

seven symphonies of Jean Sibelius. This new

release is part of this ambitious series.

The seven symphonies of Sibelius are

certainly music the world had never heard

before; music of the North, inspired by

Finnish myths and sagas and a landscape

with elemental forces of nature. Interestingly,

there is a stylistic evolution from the first to

the seventh symphony. Despite their wildly

different characteristics, all progress towards

the same purpose, a condensation, a telescoping

of elements that comes into full fruition

in the Seventh Symphony where all four

movements fuse into a single one.

Nearly the shortest of the seven and in

the key of C Major, the Third has almost a

Mozartian clarity with transparent textures

and straightforward momentum. Mysteriously

however, somewhere in the first movement

suddenly everything quiets down with a

perpetual, nearly inaudible rustle of strings

as if we would disappear into a misty thicket

with only an occasional shriek of a bird (on

the clarinet) breaking the silence.

A combination of the third and fourth

movements, the Finale is magnificent: as the

rhythmically pulsating, suspenseful Scherzo

gradually dies down, a new march-like theme

emerges almost imperceptibly; pianissimo on

the cellos and gaining momentum, and before

we know it we are in the midst of the Finale.

Soon, all the strings and the woodwinds join

in louder and louder. Finally the clarinets,

flutes and horns raise their instruments high

and the trumpets and trombones bring everything

to a final glory. Nézet-Séguin manages

this giant crescendo masterfully.

Janos Gardonyi

A Net of Gems

Suzanne Shulman; Erica Goodman

Wolftone WM21061 (shulmangoodman.


! The CD opens

with flutist

Franz Doppler’s

and harpist

Antonio Zamara’s


Casilda Fantaisie,

based on the opera,

Casilda, by Ernst II,

Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (and Queen

Victoria’s brother-in-law). Erica Goodman

and Suzanne Shulman navigate this mix of

lyricism and virtuosity admirably, offering

virtuosic lyricism and lyric virtuosity!

Next comes Bernard Andrès’ Narthex

followed by David Occhipinti’s Net of Gems,

which gives the disc its name. Though

composed 49 years apart, they have much

in common, both inspired by religious

themes, the first by Romanesque church

architecture, the second by Hinduism’s net

of Indra. Melodic, through composed and

episodic, both have the surreal quality of a

metaphorical journey through a variety of

distinctive and contrasting neighbourhoods.

The performers’ sensitivity to the contrast

between episodes is what really helped me to

navigate this difficult musical structure.

Next on the program was Camille Saint-

Saëns’ Fantaisie, Op. 124, originally composed

for violin and harp but so well adapted for

the flute by Hidio Kamioka and Shulman that

you would never guess that Saint-Saëns ever

had any other instrument in mind. To me

this was the highlight of the CD: both players

seemed so comfortably at home both with

the music and with each other. In Erik Satie’s

Gnossienne No.5, which might be translated

as “the unknowable part of the known,”

Shulman and Goodman play without expression,

perfectly conveying this miniature’s

implicit irony. John Keats’ words come to

mind: “Heard melodies are sweet … therefore,

ye soft pipes, play on….”

An afterthought: A case could be made that

wars, floods, fires, famines and pandemics,

laying waste to the complacency that seems

to come with peace, and destroying trust in

formerly trusted institutions – governments,

medicine, the judiciary, the media, universities

and more – give rise to creation and

the search for beauty. A friend quoted this

recently: “When fishermen cannot go to sea,

they stay home and mend their nets”; one

might add, “When coming together to listen

to music is prohibited, musicians compose,

learn new repertoire and record!”

Allan Pulker

Florence Price – Symphonies 1 & 3

The Philadelphia Orchestra; Yannick


Deutsche Grammophon



Florence Price – Symphony No.3;

Mississippi River; Ethiopia’s Shadow in


Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien; John


Naxos 8.559897 (naxosdirect.com/


Who Is Florence Price?

Students of the Special Music School at

Kaufman Music Center, NYC

Schirmer Trade Books ISBN-13: 978-1-

7365334-0-6 (chapters. indigo.ca)

! The so-called

classical canon,

capturing a list

of composers

and compositions


worthy of study,

multiple performances

and recordings,

has been expanding. It now represents

a more fulsome group of individuals from

a wider swath of identities – mainly seeing

growth in the areas of nationality, gender,

race and sexual orientation – than has traditionally

been characterized. Said broadening

is but one important step taken to cultivate

a culture of inclusion within classical music

and present a more representative snapshot

of what constitutes historical significance.

Further, it has been shown to be important

that burgeoning performers and composers

both hear and see themselves represented

in the canon so that, for example, female

African-American composers can locate

others who perhaps have an intersectional

identity not totally unlike their own.

40 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

Florence Price

(1887-1953), a

native of Little Rock,

Arkansas and a

graduate of Boston’s

New England

Conservatory of

Music, was a pianist

and composer who,

despite enjoying a modicum of recognition

during her lifetime (including having her

Symphony No. 1 in E Minor premiered in

1933 by Frederick Stock and the Chicago

Symphony Orchestra, a first for an African-

American woman) was a composer whose

work was almost lost to history. As the

charming illustrated children’s book Who is

Florence Price?, written by students of the

Special Music School at New York’s Kaufman

Music Center recounts, a box of Price’s

dogeared and yellowed manuscripts of

original compositions and symphonic works

was found (and thankfully not discarded) in

2009 in a dilapidated attic of the Chicago-area

summer home in St. Anne, Illinois in which

Price wrote. This discovery has led to what

could be described as a Price renaissance,

with multiple recordings, premieres, the

dissemination power of the Schirmer

publishing house (that acquired worldwide

rights to Price’s catalogue in 2018), and, most

recently, two excellent discs that capture the

American composer’s elegant music in its

full glory.

Rooted in the

European Romantic


tradition that was

her training, but

blended with the

sounds of American

urbanization, the


church, as well as

being imbued with

elements of a folkloric


blues style, Price’s Symphonies 1 & 3 (on

Deutsche Grammophon) and the never before

recorded Ethiopia’s Shadow in America

(Naxos American Classics) come to life with

tremendous splendor and historical gravitas

in the capable hands of Yannick Nézet-

Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra and

the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra


Of note is Price’s under-recorded The

Mississippi River, that ORF conductor

John Jeter suggests captures “the depth of

the American experience… like no other

composer.” Articulating in sound the experience

of the Great Migration, the large-scale

movement and relocation of African-

Americans from the Southern United States to

such Northern locales of employment, urbanization

and distance from “Jim Crow” laws as

Chicago, Detroit and New York, that was both

compositional fodder for Price and her own

lived experience.

The book and two discs represent tremendous

strides towards greater inclusion and

representation within the canon and, at least

for this reviewer, facilitated the discovery of a

creative and exceptional new musical voice.

Andrew Scott


Basque National Orchestra; Robert Trevino

Ondine ODE 1396-2 (naxosdirect.com/


! Alsace-born

Charles Martin

Loeffler (1861-1935)

moved to the U.S. in

1881. His 25-minute

“Poème dramatique,”

La Mort de

Tintagiles, Op.6

(1897), based on a

play for marionettes by Maurice Maeterlinck

about a murderous queen, is definitely

“dramatique.” Between its stormy opening

and mournful close, Loeffler’s lushly scored,

ravishing music conjures a scenario of

sensuous longing and dangerous conflict,

with long-lined, arching melodies and

vibrant orchestral colours redolent of French

late-Romanticism-Impressionism. I loved it;

why isn’t it better known?

Carl Ruggles (1876-1971) depicted his

wife and three friends, including Charles

Ives, in his four-movement, ten-minute

Evocations (1943), orchestrated from earlier

piano pieces. Hardly affectionate music, it’s

austere and perturbed. To me, Ruggles’ very

name embodies what I hear in all his music,

including Evocations – rugged struggles.

The cinematically rhapsodic Before

the Dawn, Op.17 (1920), anticipates the

many beauties that would be heard in the

symphonies of Howard Hanson (1896-1981),

his first appearing just two years later. The

brief (under seven minutes) tone poem here

receives its long overdue, first-ever recording.

Henry Cowell (1897-1965) spent the winter

of 1956-1957 in Iran, part of a tour jointly

subsidized by agencies of the U.S. and Iranian

governments. Three works resulted: Persian

Set, Homage to Iran and the 19-minute

Variations for Orchestra (1956) recorded here.

It’s filled with exotic sonorities hinting at

arcane magic and nocturnal mysteries.

Thanks to conductor Robert Trevino and

the Basque National Orchestra for these revelatory

performances of four almost-forgotten

American works.

Michael Schulman


New Jewish Music Vol.3

Sharon Azrieli; Krisztina Szabó; Nouvel

Ensemble Moderne; Lorraine Vaillancourt

Analekta AN 2 9263 (analekta.com/en)

! The Azrieli

Foundation has

released their

recording of this

year’s composition

prize for new

Jewish music,

along with recordings

of commissioned

works in the categories of Canadian

Composition and Jewish Music: Yotam

Haber’s Estro Poetico-armonico III in the

latter, Keiko Devaux’s instrumental work

Arras in the Canadian category. Yitzhak

Yedid’s Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed won

the prize for an existing work of Jewish

Music. Dissidence, a concise and somewhat

anachronistic work for small orchestra

and soprano (Sharon Azrieli, a fine soprano

and founder of the prize) by the late Pierre

Mercure, rounds out the disc.

Kadosh… is concerned with Jerusalem’s

Temple Mount, the place shared as sacred by

three major religions. Embattled chattering

and shouts introduce Yedid’s work, followed

by brassy bombast and unison modal melody

in alternation, depicting conflict, even

violence. A middle section provides relief,

insofar as mourning relieves cataclysm.

The individual players of Montreal’s excellent

Nouvel Ensemble Moderne get a brief

chance to sing before hostilities recommence,

devolve into a nasty Hora, returning tragically

to increasing strife. By the end of the movement,

we’re hoping, nay praying for peace.

Hope deferred, the heart is sick. A chant

melody in the piano calls through maddened

violin scratches and braying brass. Yedid

seems pessimistic; in spite (or because) of the

spiritual importance of the Temple Mount,

hostilities persist.

The formidable mezzo Kristina Szabó joins

the ensemble for Haber’s work, a complex

piece with so much historical/textual weight

it deserves a review unto itself. Highly

effective writing.

Arras is a woven tableau, relying on

breath and bow effects, microtonal vibrato

and dissonances, and shifting background

textures to frame lush, even lurid melody. A

single movement of nearly 25 minutes’ length,

it makes a patient argument for beauty.

Max Christie

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 41

Andrew Staniland – Reddened by Hammer

(Earthquakes and Islands Remixed)

Robin Richardson; Tyler Duncan; Martha

Guth; Erika Switzer

Centrediscs CMCCD 29121


! Andrew

Staniland is on the

faculty of music at

Memorial University

where he teaches

composition and

electronic music.

He is director

of the Memorial

ElectroAcoustic Research Lab which has

produced the Mune digital instrument.

Reddened by Hammer: Earthquakes and

Islands Remixed is based on Staniland’s

earlier song cycle for soprano, baritone and

piano with the poetry of Robin Richardson. In

fact “Side B” of this album features a selected

set of recordings from that cycle (performed

by soprano Martha Guth, baritone Tyler

Duncan, pianist Erika Switzer) remastered

for vinyl. “Side A” uses those recordings as a

source, but overlays many electronic effects

to both obscure and reinvent the original


Meditations is contemplative and I am

reminded of standing beside a river with trees

creaking, wind blowing and a storm working

its way closer Reddened by Hammer is more

industrial sounding and the original recording

with piano and singers is more immediate (as

if someone is performing music in another

room). The vocals, emerging from behind the

electronics, bring a resonant, ethereal and

sometimes spooky quality to the proceedings

(particularly in All the Grey Areas are

God). All five of the remixes are fascinating

and their effects range from intense/ambient

to edgy and percussive. Listening to the whole

album allows us to first hear the reinventions

which then inform our appreciation of the

acoustic originals. The digital release is available

now from the Canadian Music Centre,

with a limited-edition vinyl pressing to come

early in 2022.

Ted Parkinson

Chamber Works by Dmitri Klebanov

ARC Ensemble

Chandos CHAN 20231 (rcmusic.com/


! After his

Symphony No.1

(1947), “dedicated

to the memory

of the martyrs

of Babi Yar,” was

performed in his

native Kharkiv and

then in Kyiv (where,

in 1941, Nazis had massacred over 30,000

Jews at the Babi Yar ravine), Jewish-Ukrainian

composer Dmitri Klebanov (1907-1987) was

vilified as “unpatriotic” for memorializing

Jewish civilians rather than Soviet soldiers.

The Union of Soviet Composers banned the

symphony and Klebanov lost his posts as

chairman of the Composers Union’s Kharkiv

branch and head of the Kharkiv state conservatory’s

composition department. He was

eventually “rehabilitated.”

This latest in the Music in Exile series by

Toronto’s ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal

Conservatory) presents violinists Erika Raum

and Marie Bérard, violist Steven Dann and

cellist Thomas Wiebe in Klebanov’s String

Quartets Nos.4 and 5. The joyous No.4 (1946),

filled with singable, folk-like tunes, is dedicated

to the memory of composer Mykola

Leontovych, a Ukrainian separatist murdered

by the secret police in 1921. It includes two

melodies by Leontovych familiar to Ukrainian

listeners, one of them known in the West as

the Christmassy Carol of the Bells.

No.5 (1965) is more “serious,” its melodies

tinged with dissonance and pessimism, with

heavily accented rhythms – it’s strong, attention-riveting

music. Pianist Kevin Ahfat joins

Bérard and Wiebe in the highly Romantic

Piano Trio No.2 (1958). Here, warm, tender

lyricism alternates with splurges of invigorated

celebration, ending as sweetly

as it began.

There’s real beauty on this disc, all beautifully


Michael Schulman

Mountains Move Like Clouds

Noam Bierstone

No Hay Discos NHD 001


! Noam Beirstone

is a Canadian


and curator dedicated

to modern

artistic performance

whose main

projects include

his saxophone and

percussion duo, scapegoat, the Montreal

performance series NO HAY BANDA, and

Architek percussion quartet. Bierstone’s

debut album, mountains move like clouds,

features three works for solo percussionist by

composers Hanna Hartman, Pierluigi Billone

and Zeynep Toraman. This album could best

be described as “long listening;” the three

pieces on the album are extended discoveries

of very slow arcs of scrapes, buzzes and

ripples of percussion, allowed to vibrate and

feedback and cycle over themselves, giving

the listener time to reflect on the generation

and degradation of the sounds.

The three works are unique, and feature

alternate sound sources; flower pots, bricks,

knives and drum initiate the first set of

sounds, metal on metal the second, and the

third is best described by the artist himself:

“The work captures fleeting hums, resonances,

and noises – the buzzing of snares,

the emerging ripples and vibrations of the

skin – and feeds them back into the bodies of

the instruments….” All three are interesting

soundscapes in themselves, and as a collection

they work well. (A word of note however,

if headphones are being used: the album

contains some higher resonances, but the

third track in particular involves extremely

high pitches that may warrant cautionary

volume levels.)

Cheryl Ockrant

Allen Ravenstine – The Tyranny of Fiction:

Electron Music; Shore Leave; Nautilus; Rue

du Poisson Noir

Allen Ravenstine; Various Artists

Waveshaper Media WSM-05/06/07/08


! A quartet of

EP discs frame an

artistic effort by

Pere Ubu founder

Allen Ravenstine,

which together bear

the cryptic title The

Tyranny of Fiction.

Each one is about a

half-hour’s worth of sonic content; attractive

covers reference the respective disc titles, and

on each, a micro-fiction. These shorter-thanshort

stories, which may or may not link to

the music (I’d call it likely, with not much to

go on), provoke the imagination and more

than satisfy a narrative arc. Each is a slice of a

longer story, a tile stolen from a mosaic.

And why not allow mosaic to describe how

the music and fictions interact? Maybe here

I’m closing in on the essential tyranny.

Listening to these while bearing in mind their

story, see if you don’t feel compelled to write

your own novel. Does the story demand

attention while the music rolls by? Do words

determine the music?

My favourite is the

fourth disc, Rue du

Poisson Noir, which

features tracks

with titles like Rear

Window, Brothers

Grimm, Open

Season, complete

with a menacing

beast snarling at the end of a mysterious hunt

through the dusk of a musical forest, with

rattles and shrieks punctuating a bass ostinato.

Who’s doing the hunting, on whom is the

season open? Maybe there’s a clue in the text:

“I was here when the dinosaurs lumbered…

and I will be here when the time comes

and the bell tolls…” This is film noir without

dialogue or visuals. The title track combines

snippets of spoken words, street noise, rainfall

and Tom Waits-style clarinet lines (sampled?

There’s no clarinet credit!); an intro for a

monologue that never begins. Delightful

nonsense verse accompanies the first track,

Doff Downie Woot, more James Joyce than

Ogden Nash or Edward Lear.

42 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

The tracks range

from two to six or

seven minutes:

mosaic fragments,

or vignettes, like the

stories; they mostly

heel to a prog-pop

aesthetic: interesting


language but never jarringly dissonant. The

first disc, Electron Music, features almost

exclusively electronic sounds, with some

acoustic piano in there as well. Its final track,

5@28, at nearly ten minutes’ length, extends

itself beyond its welcome. Otherwise, the

array of newer and older synthetic-sound

instruments (theremin and ondes martenot,

as well as prepared piano and guitar) are

deployed in many ways: at times rhythmic,

others lyric and still others wandering about

or staying in place, always evocative,

distinctive. The accompanying story is deeply

sad, and then terrifying.

The other two

discs are related by

a maritime theme,

although not by

their fictions. The

story on Shore

Leave captures envy

and regret; Nautilus

is a ghost story told

in detached first person. The individual tracks

of Shore Leave are gorgeous brief musical

scenes. Nautilus is more unsettled and

angsty. Titles like Ninety Miles to the Spanish

Harbor, Fog (Devil’s Island Mix) and Red

Skies at Night suggest Ravenstine is a sailor as

well as a musician and fabulist. For those cool

enough to have been Pere Ubu fans, maybe

the material will sound familiar; to my ear it’s

all more listenable and more fun.

Max Christie


Julia Den Boer

New Focus Recordings FCR311



! Julia Den Boer’s

latest release is an

invitation and a

gift. The listener is

drawn into a series

of towering resonances

and rewarded

with a listening

experience that

redefines our acquaintance with the piano.

Each of the four works on the disc extends

what is sonically capable for the instrument

and Den Boer’s expressive interpretations are

world-class in their execution. It is through

such superb performances that we are able to

fully grasp the deeper communicative qualities

each piece is offering the listener.

First, Giulia Lorusso’s Déserts begins with

hyper-colouristic and excited brush strokes

that evolve into lonesome pinpricks of brilliant

colour and imagination. Linda Catlin

Smith’s The Underfolding is a harmonic

wonderscape. Smith’s sound world reveals

itself as one of the most compelling artistic

voices one can encounter: wonderfully

layered sonorities create a veil of undiscovered

colours in an ideal trance haven. The

distant hollowness of Anna Thorvaldsdóttir’s

Reminiscence produces a cerebral experience

that evokes forlorn beauty. Rebecca Saunders’

Crimson uses prickly clusters and obtrusive

deep interruptions that create unsettling

exchanges. Den Boer’s attention to detail

and expressive capabilities makes Kermes a


Adam Scime

A Love So Fierce – Complete Solo Organ

Works of David Ashley White

Daryl Robinson; Sarah Mesko; Jesús

Pacheco Mánuel; Floyd Robinson; Grace


Acis APL61020 (acisproductions.com)

! A renowned

composer of both

secular and sacred

works, David Ashley

White is perhaps

best known for his

contributions to

the world of church

music. Using influences

drawn from a variety of sources, both

ancient and modern, White’s musical lexicon

is diverse and ranges from simple hymn tunes

to challenging vocal and instrumental pieces;

it is the organ works that are put in full focus

on this disc.

The state of Texas plays a pivotal role in

the identity of A Love So Fierce: White is a

seventh-generation Texan, the organ used

for the recording is located at Christ Church

Cathedral in Houston, and the disc begins

with Fanfare for St. Anthony, an homage to

San Antonio. Organist Daryl Robinson is also

Texas-based, serving as Cathedral organist at

Christ Church and director of Organ Studies

at the University of Houston.

Although not always as overt as in the

opening Fanfare, there is a strong sense of

Americana in many of White’s works, with

use of modality and extended harmonies in

a manner reminiscent of Leo Sowerby, who

himself was a significant contributor to liturgical

music in the 20th century.

It is often challenging to separate the efforts

of the performer from those of the instrument

itself, so entwined is the organist with the

manipulation of stops and keyboards in addition

to the notes and rhythms themselves.

In this instance, both Robinson and the

1938 Aeolian-Skinner organ are in top form,

executing White’s often demanding scores in

a fluid and seamless manner.

Though not a household name, White’s

contributions to the organ repertory are not

to be overlooked, and this is recommended

listening for all who enjoy the majestic sounds

of what none other than Mozart considered

the King of Instruments.

Matthew Whitfield

Lou Harrison – Concerto for Piano with

Javanese Gamelan

Sarah Cahill; Gamelan Galak Tika; Evan

Ziporyn; Jody Diamond

Cleveland Museum of Art n/a (clevelandart.



! American

composer Lou

Harrison (1917-

2003) had an

exuberant and

searching spirit

which extended

beyond music to

the graphic and

literary arts and social activism. Today he is

perhaps best known for incorporating in his

mature scores non-mainstream tunings and

other musical elements from several cultures

outside Western classical music.

Although he was nearing 60 at the time,

Harrison nevertheless launched with

considerable passion into an in-depth study

of the gamelan musics of North, South and

West Java. Each region possesses its own kind

of music. No mere dilettante, he went on to

compose several dozen works for various

kinds of gamelan, and was among the first

composers to incorporate standard Western

concert instruments in his gamelan scores.

He even built complete gamelans (orchestras)

from scratch with his partner William Colvig.

Harrison’s Concerto for Piano with

Javanese Gamelan (1986) is a good example

of all these influences at work. In it he aimed

not only for a musical synthesis of East and

West, but also to bring the piano into what he

fancied as just intonation’s “paradise garden

of delights.” In that transcultural musical

playground a pianist could experience the

rare pleasure of performing with a complete

gamelan. Sarah Cahill, the brilliant pianist

on this album, reflects on her first encounter

with Harrison’s retuned piano. She found it,

“disorienting at first, since the keys typically

associated with corresponding pitches now

ring out with a completely different result.

The disorientation, however, provokes more

intense listening.”

Jody Diamond and Evan Ziporyn, both

longtime champions of Harrison’s music,

directed this outstanding recording of the

concerto with members of Boston’s Gamelan

Galak Tika.

Andrew Timar

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 43


Mike Block

Bright Shiny Things (brightshiny.ninja)

! Cellist, singer,


composer and

educator Mike Block

has one of the most

eclectic résumés

around. From his

“chopping” folk

history, to jazz and

cross-cultural music collaborations (check

out his duo with tabla player Sandeep Das, for

example) Mike Block has worked with nearly

everyone from Stevie Wonder to Will.i.am to

Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. From

pop to jazz, classical and bluegrass, there

seems to be no end to the continuous exploration

and collaborations around the world for

this diverse and prolific artist. As an innovator,

Block was among the first wave of

cellists to develop a standing style of playing

in order to move while performing, and can

– and does – play his challenging repertoire

sitting, standing and even while singing. He

was also the first standing cellist to perform at

Carnegie Hall, and on top of that, his Bach is

superb. What is such a diverse collaborator to

do during a world pandemic?

Bring in Block’s latest, and possibly most

poignant project, Planispheres. As an exploration

of human connection during a time

when these connections are nearly impossible

to make, each track is a full, freely improvised

solo to one unknown lucky listener, in a

large open space which allowed him to sonically

explore and test the acoustics throughout

the album. The intimacy of each performance

is palpable and adds to the personal

nature and timely relevance of the album.

Here we have an opportunity to witness not

only the wide range of sonic participation of

the venue, but also the silent participation of

each unnamed audience recipient. We can

hear Block’s urgency to connect with others,

while allowing space and time to be a fourth

element in the room. This album will engage

anyone who is missing the intimate experience

of live chamber music, but most especially

lovers of the cello.

Cheryl Ockrant

Chris Campbell – Orison

Various Artists

Innova 008 (innova.mu)

! An orison is

a type of prayer,

perhaps better

described as a

plea. Maybe Chris

Campbell is asking

for relief, or faith

in the future, as

are many of us.

He makes this plea by means of Orison,

a chamber work for strings, piano, and

percussion, 14 players in all, named but not

designated by instrument. Track titles directly

refer to one another. Movements three and

five, for example, are Ten Thousand Streams

(Forward Motion), and Ten Thousand

Streams (Retrograde); the second movement

is Rotating Light Mirrors the Water, the

sixth, Rotating Hymns. The first movement,

Parallels, Threading Light, finds an answer in

the last, Ground Calls Out to Sky (an implied

parallel?). The central movement, perhaps a

mirroring plane, is Streams to Source, Object

to Origin.

Arvo Pärt comes to mind in the early

going of Parallels, but he and the consonant,

pleading intervals disappear into turmoil and

opaque dissonance. Piano lines emerging

from this seem improvisatory, and here as

elsewhere the recording values seem hell bent

on saturation. It isn’t easy to stay with, especially

at a higher volume. The storm passes, as

storms do, and a segue leads into the calmer

second track, and middle voices expressing

again those chant-like parallel intervals. The

tracks run together, many times introduced

by a manic drum kit.

It’s difficult to puzzle out the structure; I

take it on faith that there is one. The drum kit

passages drive impetuously through the often

otherwise wandering sound-cloud formations.

Colours and textures recur, in patterns

not immediately apparent. Is this a masterpiece?

I’m not prepared to say yes or no. I do

give benefit of the doubt to Campbell.

Max Christie

Tiffany Ng – Dark Matters

Various Artists

Innova 050 (innova.mu)

! A fascinating

collection, Dark

Matters features

the music for

carillon of Stephen

Rush performed

by Tiffany Ng.

Questions of the

technical sort arise: what microphone placements

worked best; and if any ambient sound

needed to be filtered out? It must have been

a spectacular project to work on, purely in

this regard. Musically, Rush makes brilliant

use of his years spent studying the instrument,

learning how to capitalize on the peculiarly

diminished quality of the bells’ overtone

profiles. A noticeable rise before and decline

after each performance, makes for a kind of

ambient “huff,” an enveloping foggy frame,

like giant respiration.

Two carillons, one in Michigan and one in

the Netherlands, play so differently it reminds

one of how particular this type of instrument

is, and how contingent the performance

is on their sounds, much like organs.

Whereas an organ has a synthetic animus, or

breath, bells are defined by attack, such that

every note’s momentum diminishes through

its sustain. What Rush makes room for, and

Ng perfects in execution, is a linearity that

counters this. Decay follows attack, but gently

repeated notes and Ng’s impressive control of

dynamics give sustenance to line.

The smaller lighter instrument in the

Netherlands is featured on Sonata for Carillon

from 2007, as well as on the title track, from

2013, and on Six Treatments, which uses live

electronics that animate the music in fascinating

ways. The U of Michigan bells are darker

and deeper, and are heard only on the disc’s

bookends: Three Etudes, 1987, and September

Fanfares, 2018, for carillon, brass quintet

and percussion. The Sonata is a revelation,

titanic chamber music by turns soulful and

dancelike. Fanfares is the least effective track,

possibly on account of difficult balance and

timing issues, but brass quintets should find a

way to program it anyway.

Max Christie


Jacob Cooper; Steven Bradshaw

Cold Blue Music CB0062


! We need to

create a new

category of artistic


along the lines

of “responses to

the pandemic.”

This disc, sung by

Steven Bradshaw

and embellished by the electroacoustic work

of Jacob Cooper, would fit. Bradshaw and

Cooper played remote call and response over

the course of several months until they were

satisfied with the outcome.

The title refers to an early 20th-century

popular song: The World is Waiting for

Sunrise, by Ernest Seitz and Gene Lockhart.

Covered by Duke Ellington and Willie Nelson,

to name only two, it seems to have been an

anthem of hope during a dark era, as alluded

to in the liner notes; the song was written

during the Spanish influenza epidemic.

This is no song cover; the closest analogy

would be cantus firmus. The original lyrics,

deconstructed or otherwise, are chanted

at intervals throughout what amounts to

a 32-minute meditation; they’re partially

buried behind a more or less constant C

Minor-ish drone. The events, or processes,

develop gradually, but two-thirds of the way

in the voice disappears into a burgeoning

melee. The piano enters with a repeated motif

that yearns toward G Minor. The voice returns

as vocalise, soaring above on syllables from

the original text, but barely recognizable. I’m

reminded of Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach,

another prayer for love in a dark time.

There have been plenty of musical depictions

of the sunrise, and this fits in that

category as well. Essentially a long process

piece that demands and rewards attention,

even if it doesn’t offer consolation.

Max Christie

44 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

Emily Koh – [word]plays

New Thread Quartet; Noa Even; Philipp


Innova 055 (innova.mu)

! Emily Koh’s

biography lists her

as: “composer+” a

suggestion that in

addition to being

a composer, she

is also a bassist.

However, that

mathematical sign

does not even begin to describe her prodigious

gifts as a multi-disciplinary artist. This

enables her to inform her radiant music

with experiences from across the visual

and sonic artistic spectrum. Remarkably, on

the repertoire for the album [word]plays,

Koh also adds a literary dimension to her


While it is true that the five pieces on

this album are – as Koh correctly subtitles

the collection – “microtonal works for

saxophone(s),” the artistic topography of the

music is spectacularly prismatic. This is best

experienced in the three items performed by

the New Thread Quartet, comprising saxophonists

Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (soprano),

Kristen McKeon (alto), Erin Rogers (tenor)

and Zach Herchen (baritone). The items are

further connected like a three-movement

suite with titles that play upon three words:

homonym, heteronym/, cryptonym. They

unfold in diaphanous layers of sound as the

quite magical mystery of each is revealed in

waves of microtones.

That set is bookended by medi+ation

and b(locked.orders); two solo saxophone

pieces, the former performed by Philipp

Stäudlin (baritone) and the latter by Noa Even

(soprano). These are clever miniatures, the

writing of which feels as if the performance

instructions suggested is one-or-more-syllables-per-non-uniform-length

note. There is

exquisite poetry in these charts; a rumbling

gravitas in the former and a high and lonesome,

swirling tonal palette in the latter.

Raul da Gama


Chas Smith

Cold Blue Music CB0061


! Multiinstrumentalist

Chas Smith’s

recording Three is

not simply atmospheric,

its ethereal

sonic palette comes

with a twist in that

the ripples on his

ocean of sound spread vertically, seemingly

piercing the very dome of the sky. Even the

title is subtly idiomatic; its reference being

more Trinitarian than merely numeric.

The musical hypnosis begins almost

immediately in the whispered, metallic hiss

of a myriad of instruments on Distance,

continuing through The Replicant and into

the denouement of this recording on a

piece aptly called The End of Cognizance.

The composer says that “the spirit of Harry

Partch” pervades throughout. But even a first

run-through of this repertoire suggests overtones

of the soundtrack of a Philip K. Dick

cinematic narrative. In particular, the short

story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? –

which became Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner –

comes presciently to mind.

The music throughout seems to hang in the

air like dense vapour of a sonic kind. But the

seeming stasis is constantly changing, metamorphosing

into something quite different at

every turn. Its dark melodic fragments spin

and pirouette constantly, revealing Smith’s

singular balletic lyricism. The three parts of

the music are layered one atop the other like

sonic strata evocative of the massive natural

forces pervading a planet spinning its way

into infinity in triumph against time. The

orchestration is as brilliantly inventive as the

instruments that are employed to play it; all

constructed by Smith himself.

Raul da Gama

confined. speak.

Ensemble Dal Niente

New Focus Recordings FCR308


! The Chicago

based Ensemble Dal

Niente releases a

collection of works

that were streamed

during the first year

of the COVID-19

pandemic. With

each work offering

a variety of experimental techniques and

sound worlds, this music reveals the ensemble’s

incredible musical abilities. Igor Santos’

confined. speak. is a post-Lachenmannian

work that explores themes of “confinement and

liberation.” Santos’ music is carefully crafted

and contains an impressive series of magical

events. The harp concerto of Hilda Paredes,

titled Demente Cuerda, contains endless virtuosic

gestures for both soloist and ensemble

members – all of which are expertly performed.

With Tomás Gueglio’s Triste y madrigal we

receive a delicate and mysterious soprano part

amid outlandish restlessness in the ensemble

– a beautifully enigmatic work. In Merce and

Baby by George Lewis, the composer creates

an imagined musical scenario that exists

only in the documentation of a collaboration

between jazz drummer Baby Dodds and avantgarde

dancer Merce Cunningham in the 1940s.

Finally, Andil Khumalo’s Beyond Her Mask

is a disturbing and important statement that

confronts violence against women in South

Africa. Ensemble Dal Niente delivers stunning

performances of works that truly speak

to our time.

Adam Scime

What we're listening to this month:


Where Words Fail

Music For Healing

Margaret Maria

'My deepest hope is that this

music can offer some healing,

understanding, comfort, strength

when we feel weak or when words

fail us.' - Margaret Maria

Préludes et Solitudes

Marie Nadeau-Tremblay

A very personal album of pieces

for solo unaccompanied violin

by Baroque composers such as

Telemann, Purcell, Torelli, Baltzar

and Biber.

Beethoven: Violin Sonatas

nº 4, 9 & 10

Andrew Wan and Charles


This third and marvelous last

volume of the complete sonatas for

violin and piano is characterized by

its refined instrumental textures

and intimate mood.

Remembering Russia

Jesus Rodolfo & Min Young Kang

Violist Jesús Rodolfo makes his

PENTATONE debut showcasing

three 20th-century Russian

composers who left their


thewholenote.com December 2021 | 45


Ieva Jokubaviciute

Sono Luminus DSL-92251


! In a release

of 21st-century

piano music by

Lithuanian Ieva

Jokubaviciute, aptly

titled Northscapes,

we receive a selection

of ethereal

sonic planes all

evoking the majesty of nature’s expanse.

Jokubaviciute handles each piece with a

delicate touch and an inspired approach to

phrasing – attributes that are necessary to

reveal the wonderful poetic characteristics of

each piece. With each composer being from

Nordic or Baltic countries, the overall atmosphere

is one of a stark, and yet endlessly

colourful, depiction of engulfing northern

panoramas. Whether whirling through the

unrelenting chroma-glow of Lasse Thoresen’s

Invocation of Pristine Light, taking pause in

the crafty expressiveness of Bent Sørensen’s

Nocturnes, or sinking into the dreamworld

of Kaija Saariaho’s well-known Prelude, each

work connects landscape to psychological


Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Scape transports

the listener into this psycho-geographical

state with brilliance and ease. The innovative

approach to the piano in her piece shifts

the mind from the immediate to a vast apocryphal

arena. This allows the sonic experience

to travel much deeper than mere surfacelevel

representations of nature scenes. When

listening to this disc, one begins to wander

among geographies of the mind – realms

that haunt and comfort, obfuscate but also

reassure. For an experience that will transport

ear and mind, listen to Northscapes.

Adam Scime

Count to Five

Recap w/Transit New Music

Innova (innova.mu)

! The story begins

with four New

Jersey middle

schoolers Arlene

Acevedo, Alexis

Carter, Tiahna

Sterlin and Aline

Vasquez who began

studying percussion

with Joe Bergen, a member of the Mantra

Percussion ensemble. Then in 2020 at ages

19 and 20 they formed Recap, a professional

percussion quartet of BIPOC women.Recap

seeks to reevaluate the white-male-dominated

world of percussion within the contemporary

classical music scene. As Acevedo said,

“We’re young women of colour doing this...

and you can too!” The results are impressive

and they’ve now released an exciting

debut album.

Count to Five features six works, one

each by Angélica Negrón, Allison Loggins-

Hull, Ellen Reid, Lesley Flanigan, Mary

Kouyoumdjian and Caroline Shaw. Puerto

Rican composer Negrón’s surreal Count to

Five opens the album. In it, everyday objects

like shuffled playing cards, squeezed bubble

wrap, dragged chairs and bowed and tapped

wine glasses create an intimate sonic atmosphere

interrupted by prerecorded children’s

and other sounds; a harmonica note is incessantly

repeated. And yes, the performers

count to five, whispering.

Another highlight is New York experimental

musician and composer Flanigan’s

impressive Hedera which draws from another

experimental music lineage, perhaps more

Laurie Anderson than John Cage. Hedera

features Flanigan’s multitrack vocalise,

supported by Recap’s tonally ever-modulating

bass drum and tom-tom swells. For 20

minutes, their pulsing 16th-note waves propel

the work which increases in density and

emotional intensity while Flanigan’s voice

builds into a massive choir. In the end the

drums and choir float away like clouds on a

hot summer’s day.

Andrew Timar

Plays Well With Others


New Focus Recordings FCR307


! The brass

and woodwind

ensemble, loadbang,


what appears to

the harmonious

nature of humanity

on Plays Well With

Others, aptly titled

because the quartet is expanded, joined in

this odyssey by a 12-person string section plus

piano. The result is an extravagantly sumptuous

sound-world. The airy sculpting of this

music by the horns dwells in an exquisitely

dramatic recitation by Jeffery Gavett together

with Andy Kozar (trumpet), William Lang

(trombone) and Adrian Sandi (bass clarinet),

and orchestral accompaniment.

Loadbang performs this avant-garde repertoire

with architectural authority and elegant

rhetoric. There are ink-dark, gossamer whispers

and deep growls on Taylor Brook’s

Tarantism and the work progresses with

long-limbed elegance, as if spinning a

beguiling web with the (principal) tarantula

character. Riven, by Heather Stebbins,

pulsates with appropriate irregularity before

it shatters along its elliptical harmonic grain.

Eve Beglarian’s You See Where This is

Going, with its narration of a surreal poem,

sees strings, piano and horns entwining until

the work is twisted into a powerful musical

edifice. Reiko Füting’s Mo(nu)ment for C/

Palimpsest returns us to the dark world of

terrorism made more sinister by the hushed

performance. Scott Wollschleger’s CVS

offers another sinister take on socio-political

extremism. All of this leads to the dynamic

sound-palette of Paula Matthusen’s Such Is

Now the Necessity – a most appropriate finale

to this hypnotic repertoire. Anyone reacting

well to the mystery and surprise of music will

certainly take this disc to heart.

Raul da Gama


On A Mountain

Shannon Gunn; Renee Rosnes; Neil

Swainson; Billy Drummond; Brad Turner;

Pat LaBarbera

Cellar Music CM052001 (cellarlive.com)

! With last year’s

untimely loss of

gifted jazz vocalist,

composer and dedicated

jazz educator,

Shannon Gunn, a

painful shockwave

passed through

the Canadian

jazz community. Gunn was well respected

and loved as a kind, generous and inspired

musical force, and with the release of this

never-before-heard 2002 recording, her

significance as an artist is clear. For the

project, Gunn surrounded herself with dear

friends and Canada’s most skilled musicians,

including producer/pianist/composer Renee

Rosnes, bassist Neil Swainson, drummer Billy

Drummond, trumpeter/arranger Brad Turner

and tenorist Pat LaBarbera. The program

features a tasty selection of original tunes, as

well as contributions from Tom Jobim, Cole

Porter, Carla Bley and Renee Rosnes.

First up is the haunting Gunn composition,

From You. Her sumptuous voice is so

warm and rife with emotion – reminiscent

of the great Irene Kral. Rosnes’ sensitive and

harmonically sophisticated solo is a thing of

beauty, as is the trio work, and the perfect

complement to Gunn’s vocal. A standout is

Carla’s Blues by the eminent Carla Bley and

jazz vocalist Norma Winstone. The arrangement

(by Gunn’s partner, Brian Dickinson) is

dynamic and energizing – the solos by Turner

and LaBarbera are both swinging and exquisite

and Drummond’s taste, skill and rock-solid

rhythmic sensibility propel everything.

Another stunner is Lerner and Loewe’s

classic, I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face,

featuring a duet between Gunn’s rich alto

voice and Swainson’s nimble, sonorous bass.

Gunn’s original On a Mountain, transports

the listener to a mystical musical precipice.

The beautifully arranged closer is Porter’s

Everything I Love, which is quite appropriate,

as it expresses not only my feelings about

this CD, but the fact that Gunn herself was all

about everything that we love.

Lesley Mitchell-Clarke

46 | December 2021 thewholenote.com


Dizzy & Fay (Amanda Walther; Mark


Independent (dizzyandfay.com)

! The dozen

intriguing, piano/

voice duo tunes

here were all

composed by Dizzy

and Fay, and were

produced, mixed

and mastered by

Dizzy. “Fay” is

actually the alter

ego of JUNO nominee and multiple awardwinning


Amanda Walther (familiar to many as half

of the folk/roots duo Dala) and “Dizzy”

is in reality, noted Canadian singer/songwriter/pianist/accordionist/producer


in-demand-performer, Mark Lalama. When

Lalama and Walther met on tour, the timeline

of their mutual creativity began energizing!

Walther’s dusky, sensual, pitch-perfect

voice (bringing to mind Julie London) is the

ideal companion for Lalama’s sensitive piano

work. The opening track, Maybe Someday,

inspires cinematic images of a lonely and blue

lady, perched on a lone bar stool at 2am, with

a final martini in hand. There are many lovely

and potent musical baubles presented here,

all elegantly crafted into a compelling genre

and infused with compositional talent. Make

no mistake – Dizzy and Fay are highly musical

tunesmiths and storytellers.

Of particular beauty are Ordinary Love,

replete with a moving lyric and delicious

chord changes; the sweet and innocent love

song Walk Me Home, which opens with a

stunner of a piano solo; the sexy-cool (and

a cappella) Boom and the evocative Gravity

which has such a visual element, bolstered

by a beautiful melodic line and lyric, that

it is really a hit song looking for a film. The

closer of this exquisite recording, Paris Rain,

is somehow both steeped in nostalgia and

breathtakingly contemporary – which could

also be said of every perfectly presented,

emotionally charged track here.

Lesley Mitchell-Clarke

Augmented Reality

Benjamin Deschamps

MCM MCM053 (benjamindeschamps.com/


! Saxophonist,


composer and

arranger Benjamin

Deschamps has

been very active in

the Canadian jazz

scene, collaborating

with groups

such as the Orchestre national de jazz de

Montréal and JazzLab Orchestra (Effendi). He

has also led his own groups, from trios to the

sextet on this offering, and released several

albums. Augmented Reality is an assured and

swinging jazz album with a modern sound,

clever tunes and impeccable musicianship.

The opening tune, Unfinished Business,

is a terrific and intelligent scorcher which

begins with a four-note, ostinato, tenor sax

riff that is underpinned by the funky drums

and then joined by trombone and the rest

of the ensemble. The piece works through a

hopping piano solo from Charles Trudel, then

an assured sax solo from Deschamps as the

energy builds. The band cuts out and we are

left with the ostinato played on the Wurlitzer,

joined by bass and guitar with a vibrant drum

solo (from Al Bourgeois) over top. The piece

finishes with everyone intensely playing

the riff.

The title tune opens with a fuzz-rock,

rhythm-section riff, then the ensemble plays

an elegant melody which leads into a number

of excellent solos over a fuzz guitar-infused

background. The slower Healing Chant: The

Resurrection begins with a beautiful bass

clarinet line that turns into a duet with trombone

(Jean-Nicolas Trottier), then moves

into an exquisitely lyrical guitar solo from

Nicolas Ferron.

Augmented Reality is an excellent album

which combines superb performances from

all musicians with a range of intelligent and

varied compositions from Deschamps. It both

swings and rocks.

Ted Parkinson



InSound Records IS005


! Award-winning

Toronto world-jazz

group Avataar is

led by the multiple


saxophonist, bansurist,

vocalist and

composer Sundar

Viswanathan who

writes all the band’s charts. On Worldview

he’s supported by an all-star ensemble

including Michael Occhipinti (electric guitar),

Justin Gray (bass), Todd Pentney (piano,

synth, Rhodes), Aaron Lightstone (oud), Ravi

Naimpally (tabla) and Max Senitt (drums &


Felicity Williams’ tasty vocal top lines are

very effective in adding human colour and

harmony to the instrumentals. Her strawcoloured

diaphanous soprano elevates

Innocents (12/14/12), Blue As It Ever Was and

the other tracks she’s featured on.

Viswanathan’s vision for the album “is

a musical commentary on the state of our

world, on the pandemic, and on the inability

of our leaders to lead with integrity, honesty,

and compassion.” Several tracks including

Song Song, Little Kurdi (for Alan Kurdi) and

A Safe Space For Children (For All) were

inspired not only by childhood nostalgia and

saudade but also by “the honesty and fragility

of children faced by a world of uncertainty

and confusion created by adults.”

While Worldview is embedded in a framework

of contemporary jazz and its musical

What we're listening to this month:


La Grazia Delle Donne

Ensemble la Cigale and Myriam


This is a collection of wonderful

works by female composers of

the Baroque era. Soprano Myriam

Leblanc joins the ensemble with

her warm voice.


Essercizi per garvicembalo

Hank Knox

Knox’s recording highlights

Scarlatti’s technically demanding

work composed with the intent of

a study in technique, resulting in a

spectacular showcase of virtuosic


Bach au Pardessus de viole

Mélisande Corriveau ; Eric Milnes

This album revisits various of the

composer’s sonatas in the rare

but no less authentic colors of the

pardessus de viole.

New Jewish Music, Vol. 3

Azrieli Music Prizes

Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and

Lorraine Vaillancourt

This beautiful album features

world premiere of the winning

composers of the 2020 edition of

Azrieli Music Prizes interpreted by

Nouvel ensemble Moderne.

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 47

kin, echoes of the musical traditions of India,

Africa, the Middle East and Brazil are never

far away. Viswanathan’s evocative bansuri

(Hindustani bamboo transverse flute), Aaron

Lightstone’s oud solo and Ravi Naimpally’s

supportive tabla playing are examples of

how inextricably – and beautifully – these

elements are woven into the fabric of

the music.

Andrew Timar

Stir Crazy

Heavyweights Brass Band

Slammin’ Media


! The Torontobased


Brass Band always

brings the spunk

and this latest

release definitely

doesn’t fall short

in that respect!

Featuring rhythms that get you moving and a

mix of unexpected covers as well as original

compositions, this album is a tantalizing

musical journey that you’ll find you just can’t

get enough of. Most tracks have been arranged

or written by saxophonist Paul Metcalfe or

tubist Tom Richards which really draws attention

to the fact that the songs are driven

heavily by prominent tuba riffs.

Opening the album is catchy Sweet Pauly’s

Boogaloo, a fitting introduction to the

musical virtuosity showcased throughout the

record. Feel Like Makin’ Love is a cover of the

great soul and R&B vocalist Roberta Flack’s

tune, featuring an amped-up bass line and a

captivating groove, courtesy of Richards and

drummer Lowell Whitty. The title track is a

tune that truly brings forth every musician’s

talents; with soaring trumpet and saxophone

melodies conjured by John Pittman on the

former and Metcalfe on the latter, as well as a

winding and rhythmically complex tuba line

from Richards. The band is known for collaborating

with famed musicians and this time is

no different; rounding out the throwback and

vintage sound of the album is Joel Visentin

(of JV’s Boogaloo Squad fame) on the unique

Hammond C3 organ. For the fan of contemporary

jazz looking for an energizing boost,

this is a great addition to the collection.

Kati Kiilaspea


Hannah Barstow; Mike Murley; Reknee

Irene Harrett; Keith Barstow

Independent (hannahbarstow.com)

! It’s always

refreshing to see

younger talents in

the music world

finding their places

and voices and

Hannah Barstow

has done just

that on her latest release. The album showcases

her talents as a pianist, vocalist and

composer; tracks range from calming and

mellow to fast-paced and positively toetapping

– a perfect accompaniment to the

dreary days that are upon us. Supported by

a band of well-known musicians such as

Mike Murley on saxophones, Reknee Irene

Harrett on bass and Keith Barstow on drums,

this record is a great addition to any jazz

lover’s collection. Most tracks are penned or

arranged by Barstow herself, a talent that she

has clearly mastered.

Starting off the album is the title track,

Beneath, a waltz-flavoured tune that shines

a spotlight on the vocalist’s warm and sultry

timbre and how it intertwines with her

flowing piano melodies. Throughout the

record is the way in which Barstow manages

to give an expressive voice to the piano,

almost as if there was a second vocalist

accompanying her and blending with her

own vocals. A standout track is Love Can

Never Lose, featuring a faster tempo and a

catchy swing feel carried by Harrett’s bass

riffs and Barstow’s dance-worthy rhythms.

For Now brings the album to a fitting close,

with an intricate melody that brings forth

hopeful and positive vibes for the future and

for what else is in store from this talented

young musician.

Kati Kiilaspea

Montréal Jazz Trio

Steve Amirault; Adrian Vedady; Jim Doxas

Odd Sound ODS-20 (steveamirault.com)

! Montreal has

always been a

unique city, maintaining

a consistent

and identifiable

character amidst

a cultural melting

pot. Tourists from

elsewhere in

North America point out European aspects,

those from Western Canada observe its truly

Quebecois nature, and this Toronto-born

writer always notices an American grit to

the island metropolis. All of these influences

and more are present in the music created by

pianist Steve Amirault, bassist Adrian Vedady

and drummer Jim Doxas, who make up the

Montréal Jazz Trio.

This latest self-titled offering from the

group features originals, arrangements of jazz

standards, and two of Amirault’s pieces – All

Those Lovely Things and Nowhere – based on

well-known progressions from the genre. The

latter of those tracks features a beautiful bass

solo from Vedady, which prefaces him taking

the melody of Wray, a tribute to pianist Wray

Downes. Other originals include Empathy

and Soho Dreams by Amirault, which

are both melodic and modern sounding.

Alongside his role as the trio’s drummer,

Doxas mixed the nine tracks heard on the

recording at his home away from home, the

Boutique de Son studio on Montréal’s West

Island. Doxas’ father George was behind the

controls during the recording of the album

and is renowned for the excellent sounds

he achieves on countless albums per year.

The production, repertoire and personnel

heard on this recording give it a delightful

“hundred-mile diet” sensibility, and transport

its listeners to La Belle Province from wherever

they may be.

Sam Dickinson


Alex Lefaivre Quartet

arteboreal (alexlefaivre.com)

! Alex Lefaivre’s

latest quartet outing

is a delightfully

sequenced blend of

energy and lightness

that makes

for a compulsively

listenable project.

As a listener, I’ve

found that my most

memorable experiences often occur when

I can tangibly sense how much musicians

relish interacting with each other, and this

recording is a prime example of such synergy.

Lefaivre’s basslines and guitarist Nicolas

Ferron’s rhythmically inclined blowing on

standout original Reset serve as a wondrous

showcase for two musicians who are fully

engaged with each other, listening intently.

Meanwhile, Alain Bourgeois’ drumming is

sensitive and understated, playing nothing

but the bare functional necessities for most

of the album’s duration, releasing only the

occasional outburst for the most exciting

moments. The band is locked in and Lefaivre

is the primary driving force behind their

sound. In the compositional sense, his lines

propel the forward motion of the rhythm

section while anchoring the melodic content,

particularly on the rather animated track Sly.

Lefaivre’s time feel is rock-solid and

assured, helping to firmly ground the

ensemble during the eccentric time signatures

of tracks like Sneaked. He also fashions

the bass into a highly effective comping

instrument, providing a springboard for

Erik Hove’s alto showcase on Sin City. All in

all, Lefaivre has assembled both a group of

artists and a set of tunes (playfully including

a Led Zeppelin cover) that have allowed him

to refine his band, leading chops in a very

enjoyable way.

Yoshi Maclear Wall

48 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

Imaginary Structures

Levi Dover Sextet

Three Pines Records TPR-004


! In his debut as

a leader, Montreal

bassist Levi Dover

has concocted

something refreshingly

original while

also remaining true

to his post-bop

influences. From the

very moment they hit the listener’s ears it’s

apparent Dover’s compositions have a methodical

quality to them; every statement of a

tune’s central melody utilizes his entire sextet

to its full expansive potential. Each line trickles

into the next smoothly, as if the instrumentalists

are finishing each other’s sentences.

Musical phrases possess the easy flow of a daily

conversation between friends. Dover is a very

deliberate arranger, and one of his most interesting

creative decisions (that ends up being

greatly to the benefit of the music) is heavily

featuring two functionally similar instruments:

vibraphone and piano. Additionally, pianist

Andrew Boudreau and vibraphonist Olivier

Salazar are often playing the same material in

tandem, creating an incredible textural effect

that almost feels like an aesthetic marriage of

Andrew Hill and Bobby Hutcherson.

While a fair bit of Dover’s ornate writing

brings to mind vintage mid-60s Blue Note,

his personal progressive and classical leanings

also shine through on immensely electrifying

standouts like L’Appel du Vide and

Galapagos. Boudreau is more often than not

an effective mouthpiece for Dover’s vision,

grounding the band through the more

complex passages of rhythmic counterpoint

and constantly serving as the primary accompanist

for Dover’s own playing. Imaginary

Structures is beautiful, and Dover establishes

himself as an artistic force throughout eight

masterful ensemble performances.

Yoshi Maclear Wall


Darrell Katz & OddSong

Jazz Composers Alliance JCA1806


! Any considered

exposé of Darrell

Katz’s oblique, still


genius is always

welcome, especially

one that is inspired

by – and evocative

of – his late wife,

Paula Tatarunis’ poetry. Galeanthropology is

an elliptical metaphor that connects Katz’s

literary and musical pursuits, from the

conventional to the experimental, the mechanical

to the emotional. Making a leap from

that almost illusionary promontory, this

repertoire traces an evolutionary arc as if

falling off a proverbial cliff and is comprised

of elongated melodic, harmonic inventions

with the rhythmic aspect provided by

the radiant mallet percussion colours of the

marimba and vibraphone.

Tatarunis’ extraordinarily expressive poetic

canvas derives from life as a jazz cat and her

lyrical canticles come alive together with

Katz’s stylishly delivered instrumental contributions.

Making the most of Tatarunis’ deeply

elegant poems requires a particular sensitivity

to linear shape, lyrical articulation and clarity

of texture, not least in order to infuse it with

the pungency of the harmonic language that

this music breathes into it.

The most striking example of this

is certainly not restricted to the song

Galeanthropology with its quote from Charlie

Parker’s iconic, Ornithology. Katz’s ingenious

hipness comes alive on his especially

free-floating take on Charles Mingus’ Duke

Ellington’s Sound of Love, James Taylor’s

Sweet Baby James and the traditional I Am

a Poor Wayfaring Stranger; the latter being

a profoundly consequential musical experience

for the listener. The elegantly idiomatic

performance all around is fronted by

Rebecca Shrimpton’s lustrous, poignantly

executed vocals.

Raul da Gama

Beyond Here

Beth McKenna

Independent (bethmckenna.ca)

! Beth McKenna

really showcases

her versatility as a

bandleader, writer

and improviser on

her most recent

effort, Beyond Here.

Throughout the

record, the sextet

of McKenna on woodwinds, François Jalbert

on guitar, Guillaume Martineau on keys,

Oliver Babaz on bass, Peter Colantonio on

drums and Sarah Rossy on voice, manages to

generate a versatile sound that often borders

on the sublime. The album’s mood changes

significantly but never in a manner that feels

jarring, as the unwavering richness of the

arrangements and production helps maintain


McKenna’s care for her craft ensures

that the ensemble thrives as a unit, and her

graciousness as a bandleader allows the spotlight

to be evenly distributed among musicians.

Rossy’s talents are featured most

sparingly, but they are perhaps utilized most

effectively, often at the end of pieces when

the energy reaches its apex. McKenna and

Colantonio’s impassioned playing complements

the overall tone beautifully and adds a

fair bit of substance to the music. The overall

quality of improvisation is outstanding,

particularly with the breathtaking interplay

between members of the rhythm section in

tracks such as From Divided to One.

Yoshi Maclear Wall

What we're listening to this month:



Dizzy & Fay

Songbook - The debut album by

Canadian jazz songwriting duo

Dizzy & Fay. 12 original songs

written as a love letter to the

American Songbook.

Augmented Reality

Benjamin Deschamps

This album takes a more electric,

powerful and lyrical direction.

The sextet formation delivers

introspective, robust and

ingenious original compositions.



In an innovative marriage of

ancient and modern, jazz and

world music intersects with

cinematic atmospheres and

soaring melodies, creating fresh,

emotive sonic experiences.


Lyle Mays

Lyle Mays' final recording

"Eberhard" is a 13-minute, multimovement

work featuring 16

musicians, in tribute to the great

German bass player

Eberhard Weber.

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 49

Searching for the Disappeared Hour

Sylvie Courvoisier; Mary Halvorson

Pyroclastic Records PR 17


! Swiss pianist

Sylvie Courvoisier

and American

guitarist Mary

Halvorson are


members of an

emergent elite,

technically brilliant,

creative musicians whose work freely

combines improvisation and global musical

materials. Searching for the Disappeared

Hour – its fold-out graphic presents eerie

gouache renderings of clocks by artist Dike

Blair – achieves a startling, even utopian,

elegance, merging their precise articulation,

lyric sensibilities and refined timbres

with Halvorson’s strange electronic pitchbending

and Courvoisier’s percussive invention

breaking through the refined surface.

There’s a hint of hypnotic unease in

Halvorson’s opening Golden Proportion,

matching obsessive repetition with a

dissonant undercurrent. Courvoisier’s Lulu’s

Second Theorem postulates a common

ground for bop phrasing and spectral

harmonies, while her gorgeous Moonbow

constructs a series of imaginary worlds

in sound. The fluid dance of Halvorson’s

Torrential might be the perfect complement

to scenes from Fellini, until the sepulchral

thrum of a piano bass note, suggesting

Ravel’s infante défunte, anchors the glassy

upper-register runs. Halvorson’s fondness for

the clash of quarter tones against the piano’s

fixed pitches is particularly lush in her own

scores, as if the disappearing hours of the title

might be measured in the cycles per second

of her bending guitar pitches. In the improvised

Four-Point Play, Courvoisier’s rhythmic

knocks and clusters become the unpredictable

element while Halvorson’s rapid runs

become the constant.

There’s a sense of the uncanny here, as

Courvoisier and Halvorson seem somehow

simultaneously to perfect and reveal new

sonic worlds.

Stuart Broomer

Code of Being

James Brandon Lewis Quartet

Intakt 371 (intaktrec.ch)

! Tenor saxophonist


Brandon Lewis

began recording

about a decade

ago, around the

time he finished

studies at CalArts

with, among

others, Charlie Haden and Wadada Leo

Smith, two profoundly lyrical players. Since

then, Lewis has become a powerful voice

reflecting the jazz tradition, his controlled

intensity recalling John Coltrane circa 1964

(e.g., Crescent), his broad sound and emotive

vibrato suggesting David S. Ware. Like them,

Lewis is suspended between the creative risk

of free jazz and the explosive tension of form,

here using composed melodies with freely

determined harmonies.

That controlled intensity is apparent from

the opening Resonance, the group realizing

multiple levels of activity, from pianist

Aruán Ortiz’s looming chords to the press

of Brad Jones’ bass and the rapid-fire, dense

rush of drummer Chad Taylor’s sticks across

his rattling snare and cymbals, and a pulsing

hi-hat cymbal receiving simultaneous attention

from foot-pedal and sticks. It’s Taylor’s

special gift, rarely heard and consistently

reinforced by his collaborators, to convey both

majesty and mission, grandeur and struggle,

wedding a nobility of sound with underlying

tension and tumult that threaten disintegration.

The emotional complexity extends

to Every Atom Glows, a glacially slow, utterly

beautiful piece that expands through its


The title track is highlighted by Ortiz’s

densely inventive solo, its complex lines

overlapping and compounding in a welling

mystery that suggests Andrew Hill, specifically,

but also the whole ethos of those

mid-60s musicians who first fused the energies

of post-bop and free jazz.

Stuart Broomer

I Insist

Kazemde George

Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1087


! A musician’s

debut album as

a leader requires

ample planning

before ever seeing

the light of day, and

artists are often

hyperconscious of

small details since

these albums provide a formal introduction

to listeners. Kazemde George’s release I Insist

resists overcomplicating things musically

or programming repertoire that is exceedingly

eclectic for the sake of variety. Instead,

listeners are treated to a balanced ten tracks

of music that showcase the young saxophonist’s

playing and composing, and a stellar cast

of his New York colleagues.

Tracks like Coasts, I Insist and This Spring,

conjure up the hard swinging rhythms and

dense harmonies heard in Miles Davis’ second

quintet, still sounding contemporary next to

today’s improvised music. Haiti and Happy

Birthday are groove-based numbers, apropos

on George’s debut album given his beatmaking

alter ego KG,B and experience playing

neo-soul alongside his fiancée, vocalist

Sami Stevens, in The Love Experiment. The

remaining tracks exist within the modern jazz

idiom, while varying in style and arrangement,

offering the listener a well-rounded

album from start to finish.

When first listening, the mix/blend

achieved at Big Orange Sheep in Brooklyn

was not my favourite. However, this grew on

me over time. The band acts as one cohesive

unit throughout the album, and it is no

surprise that the pieces presented have been

performed live time and time again prior to

entering the studio. Enjoy I Insist now and

expect to hear more great things in the future

from George!

Sam Dickinson

Station Three

Quartet Diminished

Hermes Records Her 092


! Despite the

repressive theocratic

regime that

governs Iran, some

form of music is still

being performed,

even progressive

improvised music

– as this decisive

CD proves. Iranian-Canadian guitarist Ehsan

Sadigh and his cohorts, soprano saxophonist/

clarinetist Sohil Peyghambari, pianist Mazyar

Younessi and percussionist Rouzbeh Fadavi

make up Quartet Diminished. The band

recorded its four extended group compositions

in Tehran in a style that mixes jazz-rock

fusion and purer improvisation with Persian

musical overtones.

From the first track while guitar flanges,

sliced string chording and cascading piano

licks relate to Western music, there are also

sections where Fadavi’s measured thumps

take on doumbek-like resonations and

Peyghambari’s pinched glissandi project neylike

characteristics. At the same time, there’s

no attempt to shoehorn textures from either

tradition onto the other, merely to work out a

mutual blend. So, for instance, the title track

is as focused on drum press rolls, calliopelike

trills from the reeds and buzzing guitar

twangs as on any Middle Eastern inflections.

Other tracks project R&B-like sax snarls,

arena-rock-like guitar shakes, modulated

drum ruffs and an exploratory interlude on

Rhapsody which vibrates between piano key

plinks and Morse code-like reed bites.

Overall, the sophistication of the performances

suggests the quartet’s name is a

misnomer. Rather than diminishing sounds,

the band is augmenting all timbres into a

satisfying Persian-Western fusion.

Ken Waxman

50 | December 2021 thewholenote.com



Bill McBirnie; Bruce Jones

Extreme Flute EF09-EP (extremeflute.com)

! This is the third

Extreme Flute

release, and on this

new musical salvo,

all of the compositions

were penned

by Bruce Jones,

who also produces,

performs on guitar,

percussion and synths. Co-producer Bill

McBirnie performs masterfully here on flute

and alto flute, along with Robin Latimer on

electric bass. As COVID was in full throttle

during the actual recording of this CD,

the production process was complex, and

involved countless exchanges of sound files

between McBirnie and Jones. The material

here has a lovely Brazilian bent – purposely

chosen by McBirnie and Jones for the music’s

healing and optimistic properties in a time of

global pandemic.

First up is Criole Blessing (Saravá Criola),

a lilting, reggae-infused samba that generates

pure joy and features gymnastic soloing from

McBirnie and a potent rhythmic background

from Jones. Also a stunner is the legato and

sensual samba, dedicated to McBirnie’s wife,

Song for Svetlana (Um Choro Para Svetlana)

which is rife with lovely exchanges between

alto flute and guitar.

Of special mention is the delightful,

contemporized bossa, It’s the Time (Saber

Se Amar) in which McBirnie soars over the

chord changes and rhythmic patterns of this

thoroughly elating tune, and also Dreams

and Light (Canta Canção) a beautiful balladic

bossa with a thrilling rhythmic backbone and

mystical percussion.

The closer, Full Moon Blue Wolf (Lua

Cheia Lobo Azul) features deep Brazilianinspired

vocals by the multi-talented Jones

and McBirnie’s dynamic and elastic soloing in

concentric circles of melody and percussion.

Lesley Mitchell-Clarke

In Relation To

Big Space

Independent (bigspaceband.com)

! The latest Big

Space album, In

Relation To, is

equal parts technically


and refreshingly

easy on the ears.

Tastefully incorporating


of math-rock, post-rock and funk into their

blend of fusion, the trio’s firm grasp of the

songwriting process is consistently on display.

Despite recording live in studio with no

overdubbing, the airtight rhythm section,

composed of drummer Ashley Chalmers,

bassist Ian Murphy and guitarist Grant King,

manage to remain in near-perfect lockstep

with each other throughout. Thankfully, their

outstanding proficiency as a unit doesn’t end

up as a vehicle for listless noodling. Instead,

it greatly enhances the overall clarity of the

musical ideas. The track Relevator is a masterclass

in tension and release. Largely buoyed

by the tandem of Chalmers and Murphy,

Big Space repeatedly establishes a memorable,

stripped-down groove that eventually

builds to multiple, expertly realized climaxes.

During these synchronized bursts of sublime

energy, King’s commanding solos manage

to spearhead the band’s gargantuan sound

without once crossing the line into overplaying.

The musicians’ combination of precision

and restraint along with their knack for

melody writing gives In Relation To a distinct,

beguiling quality.

Yoshi Maclear Wall

Amir ElSaffar – The Other Shore

Rivers of Sound Orchestra; Amir Elsaffar

Outhere Music OTN 640


! Amir ElSaffar’s

exquisite recording

begins – most

appropriately – in

the wispy smoke of

a prayer (Dhuha),

heralding that time

when the sun is

at its zenith. The

ululations of his near falsetto voice are the

perfect setting for this supernatural music.

ElSaffar is an astute composer, vocalist and

trumpeter who also plays the santur, a Middle

Eastern version of the zither.

What is most remarkable about this music

is its swirling, alchemical fusion of mugami

modes, mystical, microtonal music that

stands in stark contrast to the Western pentatonic

scale. That ElSaffar has managed to

gather together a group of musicians from

diverse backgrounds who play his proverbial

Zen – or Sufi – creations with idiomatic brilliance

is a testament not just to the musicians

who play it, but also to the fact that ElSaffar

can write music from such a deep niche while

still having universal appeal.

Part of the reason for that is that humanity

is riven by a universal, existential angst that

has literally ripped humanity apart. ElSaffar

intends for us to listen with our hearts; to

make amends and be transformed into more

spiritual beings.

To this end his suite leads us onward and

upward. His swirling dervish-like Concentric

drives us to what Plato once called divine

madness. The composer suggests this magical

state may be attained with Medmi, the

mesmerizing contemplative finale of this

singularly eloquent and symphonic work that

takes us to The Other Shore.

Raul da Gama

What we're listening to this month:


The Space in Which to See

Borderlands Ensemble

Tucson based Borderlands

Ensemble formed to foster

connections across disciplines

and music communities that have

traditionally been separated.

The Sky's Acetylene

David Fulmer

Commissioned and premiered

by The New York Philharmonic

as part of their CONTACT! series,

this EP release celebrates this

kaleidoscopic work


Duo Della Luna

Remarkable versatility and

integrated ensemble approach to a

rarefied instrumental combination,

with both musicians taking

advantage of their impressive


Unsnared Drum

Michael Compitello

Reframes how people think about,

perform, and practice the snare

drum, freeing the drum from its

historical and idiomatic chains.

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 51

Open House

The Fretless

Birthday Cake BDAY037CD


! Canadian Juno


string quartet The

Fretless is Trent

Freeman (fiddle/

viola), Karrnnel

Sawitsky (fiddle/

viola) Ben Plotnick

(fiddle/viola) and

Eric Wright (cello). Each member is a technical

and musical virtuoso. Together they

transform stereotypical classical ensemble

instrumental and roots music sounds into

new sonic forms. The Fretless continue their

musical explorations in this, their sixth

release, collaborating with vibrant powerful

singers on ten tracks of carefully chosen,

arranged, performed and produced covers.

The arrangements are clearly influenced by

a wide range of styles. Retrograde, featuring

Ruth Moody, is a slower work with held

string notes, melodies and plucks colourfully

mixing with Moody’s vocals and closing

humming. Dirty Work is a short dramatic

new take on the Steely Dan tune with Freddie

& Francine singing fast clean vocals against

repeated instrumental grooves and a guitar

solo reminiscent background strings. Less

intense instrumentals put the spotlight on The

Bros. Landreth singing their own Let it Lie,

another more straightforward roots rendition.

Alessia Cara’s Stay gets upbeat, rocking

wailing by Nuela Charles as the quartet

supports with repeated chordal textures and

held low-note swells. Closing track Fall Away

Blues, with guests Red Tail Ring, including

its composer Laurel Premo, has classical

music reminiscent of background strings

and countermelodies until a fast flourish

mid-section with a bit of welcome instrumental

improv showcasing the quartet’s

diverse talents.

Thank you to The Fretless for providing

the vocalists the opportunity to develop and

record songs with them. Outstanding music.

Tiina Kiik


Caroline Wiles

Independent (carolinewiles.com)

! Ontario-based,

self-taught musician

and songwriter


Wiles performs

her musical heart

out with lush lead

and harmony

vocals, and clear

guitar/harmonica playing in her fifth release,

Grateful. Nine tracks are her own compositions,

which run the sound spectrum from

60s-70s-80s’ flavoured pop to country, and

one Gordon Lightfoot cover, all recorded by

her longtime Hamilton, Grant Avenue Studio


Bob Doidge.

Wiles’ melodies and storytelling lyrics are

heartwarming. A highlight is the earworm

title track Grateful, dedicated to her sister,

featuring positive real-life sentiments like

“I am so grateful for you,” a feeling we can

all relate to. Make a Memory with Me is an

upbeat 70s tune with wide-ranging high/

low pitched vocals and singalong la-la-la

sections. What Could Have Been is a radiofriendly

pop song with a solo voice alternating

with her own group vocals singing

“I may never win” to a final held note.

Country style Lovey Dovey, has solo and full

harmonic sung sections and full band instrumentals

featuring Shane Guse fiddle backdrop

and solo interludes. It is so admirable

that Wiles has recorded her first-ever cover,

Gordon Lightfoot’s Talking in Your Sleep,

as a respectful tribute to the Canadian icon.

Her perfect diction and vocal colours are

emotional as bandmember Amy King’s vocal

harmony/solo piano stylings keep the mood.

Lightfoot has complimented Wiles for all her

performances here.

Precise intonation, smooth rich vocal

colour, enthusiastic instrumental performances

and easy listening songs make Grateful

a release for listeners of all ages.

Tiina Kiik

Songs from Home


Independent n/a (polkyband.com)

! Polky – “Polish

women” in English

– is a Canadian

folk band started

by three Polish-

Canadian musicians,


Ewelina Ferenc,


Alicja Stasiuk and multi-instrumentalist

Marta Solek. This is their first full-length

recording and the six-piece band, with

four special guests, energetically perform

uniquely passionate music drawing on their

Polish musical roots, various Eastern/Central

European musics and that of the multicultural

Canadian setting they call home for their

musical influences.

Featured are nine Polky arranged/

composed traditional Polish compositions.

Opening track Hej z pola z pola is an

eloquent introduction with Ferenc’s written

chantlike vocals above guest Wojciech

Lubertowicz’s haunting duduk drone.

Then an upbeat fast polka change of pace

in an arrangement of traditional Polish Oj

Musialas. Vocal solo, choral full answer, energetic

vocal squeals, full bass and drum cymbal

rings add to its fun feel. Slow instrumental

start, full vocals and sudden shift to fast polka

in Jewish Polka, with Georgia Hathaway’s

violin and Tangi Ropars’ accordion adding to

the joyful sound. Rain, one of two original

tunes, is composed by Solek. String plucks,

repeated wind notes, bass groove and vocals

build to final quiet instrumental rain drops.

Bassist Peter Klaassen drives and holds the

band together in the closing more traditional

upbeat polka rendition of Wishing Kasia with

his strong groove supporting group vocals and

alternating instrumental solos to the closing

loud accent.

Polky musically incorporates the love of

all their homes’ traditional music into their

own luminous original sound. Canadian Folk

Music Awards 2022 nominations in three


Tiina Kiik

Folk for Little Folk Volume 1

Gordie Crazylegs MacKeeman

Independent n/a (gordiemackeeman.com/


! Uplifting joyous

energetic musical

surprises abound

as superstar East

Coast fiddler/singer/


Gordie “Crazylegs”

MacKeeman directs

his musical energies

to kids and their families in 17 songs.

MacKeeman is a father and, when not

performing, has worked for ten years as

a daycare teacher seeing, as he writes in

the liner notes, “a lack of variety in children’s

music.” I too spent years teaching

daycare music and agree, kids enjoy musical

variety. I love what MacKeeman has accomplished

here, as he sings and fiddles in many

styles like folk, bluegrass and country. He is

joined by numerous musicians, including

two Gordie McKeeman and His Rhythm Boys

bandmates, Peter Cann (guitar) and Tom

Webb (banjo/pedal steel).

All Around the Kitchen has upbeat traditional

East Coast old-time MacKeeman

fiddling, and hilarious cock-a-doodle-doo

female vocals. More traditional fiddling with

high-pitch fiddle sections in Listen to the

Mockingbird. Fiddle and guitar solos between

MacKeeman’s robust singing in his really fast

rendition of Hokey Pokey encourages boisterous

listener participation. Classic singalong

rendition of Log Driver’s Waltz sets the mood

for “chair dancing.” A cappella vocals and

sounds of trickling/splashing water create a

hilarious change of pace in Dancing in the

Bathtub. MacKeeman’s composition Boogie

Woogie Baby uses the title words as lyrics,

making it easy for kids of all ages to sing and

dance to its walking groove feel. His relaxing

waltz Dreamland closes with tinkly piano.

MacKeeman’s children’s release is perfect!

More please!

Tiina Kiik

52 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

Something in the Air

Japanese Improvised Music

Has Taken and Still Takes Many

Surprising Forms


Since at least after World War Two, the skill of Japanese players of

every type of music has been unquestioned, and it’s the same for

jazz and improvised music. However since non-notated music’s

bias has been North American and European-centred, except for the

few who moved to the US, numerous Japanese innovators are

unknown outside the islands. But these discs provide an overview of

important players’ sounds and the evolution of the form.

Although arriving from a dissimilar tradition,

free-form experiments were common

in 1960s Japan with several avant-garde

ensembles throughout the country. One

player who tried for more international

renown was trumpeter Itaru Oki (1941-

2020). He relocated to France in 1974 and

was soon playing with locals. Occasionally

he returned to gig in Japan, and Live at Jazz

Spot Combo 1975 (NoBusiness NBCD 143 nobusinessrecords.com)

reproduces one of those visits. Playing with drummer Hozumi Tanaka

who was part of his Japanese trio, bassist Keiki Midorikawa and,

crucially, alto saxophonist/flutist Yoshiaki Fujikawa, Oki’s quartet

roams through five themes and improvisations. The trumpeter’s

truculent flutters set the pace with speedy arabesques in counterpoint

to slithery flute flutters. While keeping the exposition horizontal, the

trumpeter prolongs intensity with triplets and half-valve effects.

Backed by sul tasto bass string rubs and percussion slaps, Fujikawa is

even more assertive beginning with Combo Session 2, where initial

saxophone concordance with trumpet puffs soon dissolves into strangled

reed cries and irregular vibrations. Dragging an emotional

response from Oki, both horns are soon exfoliating the narrative,

seconded by cymbal shivers. But the four stay rooted enough in jazz to

recap the head after cycling through theme variations. These opposing

strategies are refined throughout the rest of this live set. But no matter

how often the saxophonist expresses extended techniques such as

doits and spetrofluctuation, linear expression prevents aural discomfort.

In fact, the concluding Combo Session 5 could be termed a free

jazz ballad. While Oki’s tonal delineation includes higher pitches and

more note expansion than a standard exposition, at points he appears

to be channelling You Don’t Know What Love Is. That is, until

Midorikawa’s power pumps, Tanaka’s clapping ruffs and the saxophonist’s

stentorian whistles and snarls turn brass output to plunger

emphasis leading to a stimulating rhythmic interlude. With trumpet

flutters descending and reed trills ascending a unison climax

is reached.

Flash forward 15 years and more instances of

first generation Japanese free music are on

Live at Jazz Inn Lovely 1990 (NoBusiness

NBCD 135 nobusinessrecords.com). In one

way it was a reunion between two pioneering

improvisers, guitarist Masayuki Jojo

Takayanagi (1932-1991), who began mixing

noise emphasis and free improvisation in

the mid-1960s with in-your-face groups

featuring the likes of saxophonist Kaoru Abe and pianist Masabumi

Puu Kikuchi (1939-2015). Kikuchi evolved a quieter style after

moving to the US in the late 1980s and this was the first time the

guitarist and pianist played together since 1972. Problem was that this

was a Takayanagi duo gig with longtime bassist Nobuyoshi Ino until

Kikuchi decided to sit in, creating some understandable friction.

Agitation simmers beneath the surface adding increased tautness to

the already astringent sounds. This is especially obvious on the trio

selections when the guitarist’s metallic single lines become even

chillier and rawer. Initially more reserved, Kikuchi’s playing soon

accelerates to percussive comping, then key clangs and clips, especially

on the concluding Trio II. For his part, Ino serves as a bemused

second to these sound duelists, joining an authoritative walking bass

line and subtly advancing swing to that final selection. On the duo

tracks, he and the guitarist display extrasensory connectivity. He

preserves chromatic motion with buzzing stops or the occasional

cello-register arco sweep. Meanwhile with a minimum of notes,

Takayanagi expresses singular broken chord motion or with slurred

fingers interjects brief quotes from forgotten pop tunes. On Duo II as

well, Ino’s string rubs move the theme in one direction while

Takayanagi challenges it with a counterclockwise pattern. Still, fascination

rests in the piano-guitar challenges with Kikuchi’s keyboard

motion arpeggio-rich or sometime almost funky, while Takayanagi’s

converse strategies take in fluid twangs, cadenced strumming and

angled flanges.

Abandoning chordal instruments and

concentrating on horn textures, Live at Little

John, Yokohama 1999 (NoBusiness NBCD

144 nobusinessrecords.com) provides an

alternative variant of Nipponese free music.

Backed only by the resourceful drumming of

Shota Koyama, a trio of wind players creates

almost limitless tonal variants singly, in

tandem or counterpoint. Best known is

tenor saxophonist Mototeru Takagi (1941-2002), who was in

Takayangi’s New Direction Unit and in a duo with percussionist Sabu

Toyozumi. The others who would later adopt more conventional styles

are Susumu Kongo who plays alto saxophone, flute and bass clarinet,

and Nao Takeuchi on tenor saxophone, flute and bass clarinet. No

compromising of pure improvisation is heard on this CD’s three

lengthy selections, although there are times when flute textures drift

towards delicacy and away from the ratcheting peeps expelled elsewhere.

Whether pitched in the lowing chalumeau register or

squeaking clarion split tones, clarinet textures add to the dissonant

sound mosaic. This isn’t anarchistic blowing however, since the tracks

are paced with brief melodic interludes preventing the program from


Van Stiefel

A collection of his own

performances of layered

compositions developed in his

home recording studio.


American Discoveries

Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra

Celebrates previously unrecorded

orchestral repertoire, featuring

music by three female composers:

Priscilla Alden Beach, Linda

Robbins Coleman, and

Alexandra Pierce.

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 53

overheating. The more than 40 minute Yokohama Iseazaki Town gives

the quartet its greatest scope, as vibrating split tones pass from one

horn to another with percussion crunches keeping the exposition

chromatic. Takagi’s hardened flutters and yowling vibrations may

make the greatest impression, but Kongo’s alto saxophone bites are

emphasized as well. Although space exists for clarion clarinet puffs

and transverse flute trilling, it’s the largest horn’s foghorn honks and

tongue-slaps that prevent any extraneous prettiness seeping into the

duets. Still, with canny use of counterpoint and careful layering of

horn tones backed by sprawling drum raps, the feeling of control is

always maintained along with the confirmation of how the balancing

act between expression and connection is maintained.

Takagi’s former duo partner, percussionist

Sabu Toyozumi (b.1943) continues playing

free music as he has since the mid-1960s.

Recently he’s formed a partnership with

American alto saxophonist Rick

Countryman, with Misaki Castle Tower

(Chap Chap Records CPCD-0190 chapchapmusic.com)

the most recent session. It’s

fitting that one track is entitled Ode to

Kaoru Abe since the saxophonist who overdosed at 29 in 1978 is a

Charlie Parker-like free jazz avatar in Japan. While the healthy duo’s

homage is strictly musical, Countryman’s spiralling tones, modulated

squeaks and brittle reed interjections are aptly seconded by

Toyozumi’s hard ruffs and cymbal pops. Segues into shaking flattement,

renal snarls and multiphonics characterize the saxophonist’s

playing on other tracks and the drummer responds with positioned

nerve beats, complementary rim shots and restrained press rolls.

Hushed tone elaborations, during which Countryman moves pitch

upwards with every subsequent breath, distinguish the concluding

Myths of Modernization from the preceding tracks. But the saxophonist’s

ability to snake between clarion peeps and muddy smears when

not eviscerating horn textures, remains. The summation comes on

that track, as articulated reed squeezes and stops meet irregular drum

bops and ruffs.

Although they play the same instrument as

Takayanagi, the sounds from Taku Sugimoto

(electric guitar) and Takashi Masubuchi

(acoustic guitar) on Live at Otooto &

Permian (Confront Core Series core 16


reflects a new minimalist genre of Japanese

improvisation. Called Onkyo, which loosely

translates as quiet noise, it’s as introspective

as free jazz is brash. Through a sophisticated use of voltage drones,

string percussion and harmonic transformation, these two guitarists

prevent the five selections recorded at two Tokyo clubs from being

bloodless. With the electric guitar projecting a buzzing undercurrent,

harsh jabs, bottleneck-like twangs and inverted strums inject

rhythmic and harmonic transformation into the tracks even as the

narratives unroll horizontally. While the gradual evolution is rigid,

there are sequences as on At Permian II, where repetitive undulations

from both join singular cells into a distant melody. Plus, by moving

patterns between guitarists, the duo ensures that neither droning

continuum nor singular string prods predominate, making sound

transformation as logical as it is unforced.

Too often Western listeners think of unconventional Japanese music as

foreign, frightening and impenetrable. As these sessions show there’s

actually much to explore and appreciate with close listening.

Old Wine,

New Bottles

Fine Old Recordings Re-Released


Many years ago, I chatted with members of the Juilliard String

Quartet in Toronto when they were engaged to play at the

recently opened North York Centre for the Performing Arts. I

asked which of them was considered the “head of the quartet”? They

each replied that they were all equally involved and responsible for

decisions of repertoire and performance. Perhaps this is the secret

to their excellence and longevity, that they all feel they are equal


The Juilliard String Quartet was neither composed of students nor

members of the faculty of the elite New York conservatory, but rather

founded at the instigation of William Schuman, American composer

and president of the Juilliard School. His wish was to form a quartet

that would “play the standard repertoire with the sense of excitement

and discovery and play new works with a reverence usually reserved

for the classics.” Schuman found a kindred spirit in the young

violinist, Robert Mann, who brought with him two former Juilliard

classmates, cellist Arthur Winograd and violinist Robert Koff. They

found their fourth member, Raphael Hillyer, in the Boston Symphony

Orchestra. Hillyer enthusiastically switched from violin to viola to

complete the ensemble.

This original Juilliard String Quartet gave their first public performance

in 1947 in Tanglewood, introduced by the Boston Symphony’s

Serge Koussevitzky. The sound of these recordings, made by Columbia

in the early years of the quartet from 1949 to 1956, is remarkably

immediate and strikingly fresh. Some of the works may be new to

a few collectors but every opus on these 16 well-chosen recordings

enjoys an outstanding performance. The repertoire, featuring the

Juilliard and a number of their colleagues, is as Schuman envisioned,

including, not unexpectedly, two works of his own.

Here are all the works to be heard on these 16 CDs in the order in

which they appear. Notice that this is not a potpourri of the usual

repertoire of best-loved pieces but includes performances of many

compositions that were new then. The opening work is Darius

Milhaud’s Cantate de l’enfant et de la mere, Op.185 with text by

the Belgian poet Maurice Carême. It is for speaker, piano and string

quartet and had premiered in Brussels in 1938 with the Pro Arte

Quartet and the composer’s wife Madeleine as speaker. Columbia

made this recording two days before Christmas in 1949 in New York

with Madeleine, pianist Leonid Hambro and the Juilliard all directed

by Milhaud himself. A second Milhaud opus is The Household Muse,

a collection of five pleasant piano pieces each lasting less than two

minutes, played by Milhaud and recorded in 1945.

The complete Bartók String Quartets. The set that drew attention

worldwide was the premiere recording of the complete string quartets

by the recently deceased Béla Bartók. The Juilliard gave the first

public performance of the complete cycle in 1949. Present in the audience

were Dmitri Shostakovich and Columbia’s legendary producer

Goddard Lieberson, who shortly afterward went on to make these

recordings. This was no small event as the “Bartók Scene” was where

it “was at.” I had not heard the complete cycle for some time and

listening and paying attention, not only the intensity of the performances

but the body of sound and the feeling of the players being right

there, is captivating.

The next works are Berg’s Lyric Suite and Ravel’s String Quartet in

F Major. For Aaron Copland’s Sextet for Clarinet, Piano and String

54 | December 2021 thewholenote.com


After Hours 1966

Norm Amadio Trio + Tommy Ambrose

Panda Digital PDCD0291 (pandadigital.com)

Quartet the Juilliard is joined by David Oppenheim and pianist

Hambro. A composer named Ellis Kohs (1916-2000) is represented

by his Chamber Concerto for Viola and String Quartet, with Ferenc

Molnar solo viola. The abovementioned Schuman’s String Quartet

No.4 is follow by Ingolf Dahl’s Concerto a Tre for clarinet, violin and

cello with Mitchell Lurie, Eudice Shapiro and Victor Gottlieb. The

complete string quartets of Arnold Schoenberg are followed by Anton

Webern’s Three Movements for String Quartet and Alban Berg’s String

Quartet No.3. Mann recalls an encounter with Arnold Schoenberg

after a session when they were recording his four string quartets:

“After we finished… we waited anxiously. He was silent for a while.

Eventually he said with a smile ‘I really must admit that you played

it in a way I never conceived it… but you know, I like how you play it

so much that I’m not going to say a word about how I think, because

I want you to keep playing in that manner.’” These recordings from

1951-52 comprise three discs in this box set.

Reading lists like this one can surely become tiresome to the reader

but I can assure you that listening to all these works, not in one

sitting of course, was a pleasure. These are fine performances meeting

Schuman’s original ideals quoted above. But wait, there’s more…

More American music from Leon Kirchner (String Quartet No.1)

played by the American Art Quartet. Then we return to the Juilliard

themselves with Irving Fine’s String Quartet, Peter Mennin’s String

Quartet No.2 and Andrew Imbrie’s String Quartet No.1. And then, at

last, Mozart – String Quartet No.20 K499 and No.21 K575, providing a

breath of fresh air and respite from the somewhat craggy modernism

that dominates the discs. But after that refreshing pause we’re back

in the thick of the 20th century with Virgil Thomson’s String Quartet

No.2 and our old friend William Schuman’s piano cycle, Voyage, in

five movements played by Beverage Webster.

The penultimate disc features Alexei Haieff’s String Quartet No.1

and Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs Op.29 sung by the incomparable

Leontyne Price accompanied by the composer on piano.

Columbia/Sony wraps up this collection with the Lukas Foss String

Quartet No.1 with the American Art Quartet and finishes with the

Juilliard performing William Bergsma’s String Quartet No.3. Juilliard

String Quartet – The Early Columbia Recordings 1949-1956 (Sony

Classical 194398311029 16 CDs, amazon.com/Early-Columbia-


! A stalwart of the Toronto jazz and live

music community, the late Norm Amadio

is captured here on After Hours 1966 in the

kind of fine form that hundreds of musicians

locally and such visiting American

players as Stan Getz and Coleman Hawkins

(among many others) experienced when

working with Amadio on the bandstands

and jam sessions of any number of Toronto

clubs over the numerous decades of his storied career. Capturing some

of the long ornamented piano lines and furious comping that made

him a bebop soloist and accompanist of choice for so many, Amadio is

joined on this recording by bassist Bob Price and drummer Stan Perry,

occasionally in support of vocalist (and longtime Amadio collaborator)

Tommy Ambrose.

The compositions, all of which were written by Andrew Meltzer

(including one with lyrics by journalist and Order of Canada Member

George Jonas), all move harmonically and melodically like standards,

that is to say the music of the gilded fraternity of tunesmiths

who wrote for the Broadway stage, that jazz musicians love to perform

and extemporize upon. Accordingly, everyone here plays beautifully

and in a relaxed manner that imbues a sense of intimacy and familiarly.

For Melzer, this release is a dream that dates back to when he

was a 60-year-old songwriter in conversation with Amadio about

doing this recording on the stage of Toronto’s The Cellar club. For the

rest of us, this album is a welcome addition to our collection of great

Toronto jazz from yesteryear and a testament to Amadio’s amazing


Andrew Scott

New York Eye and Ear Control Revisited

Albert Ayler

ezz-thetics 1118 (hathut.com)

! A movie soundtrack that’s as acclaimed

as the film for which it was conceived,

1964’s New York Eye and Ear Control has

maintained its reputation for both the

distinctive quality of Toronto artist/pianist

Michael Snow’s experimental film, and

the unique ensemble which improvised its

soundtrack. Following Snow’s instructions

to create an improvised score, New York’s

top free jazz players of the time – cornetist/trumpeter Don Cherry,

trombonist Roswell Rudd, alto saxophonist John Tchicai, tenor saxophonist

Albert Ayler, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny

Murray – rose to the challenge.

Part of the disc’s longstanding appeal is the unfiltered reed extensions

from Ayler, who emerges as first among equals in the group,

even though it’s one of the saxophonist’s few non-leadership sessions.

Although free jazz at its freest, the tracks’ sounds aren’t formless,

with the nephritic honks of Ayler’s saxophone serving as

thematic leitmotif throughout. Other than that, the sound narrative

is expressed by contrasting guttural snarls and low-pitched bites

from Ayler, sometimes seconded by Tchicai’s snaky split tones, while

Cherry’s shrill rips and flutters propel melodic and linear interludes.

Rudd’s smeary triplets are heard sparingly, most conspicuously on A

Y in an up-and-down duet with Peacock, whose systematic rhythmic

thumps likewise stay in the background. Not Murray, whose drum

rolls and ruffs frequently punctuate the ongoing group narratives.

Balanced experimentation like the film, the session confirms its structure

when Ayler ends it by recapping the subterranean growl which

begins the program.

Ken Waxman

thewholenote.com December 2021 | 55

Down to Earth

Time Warp

Cornerstone Records CFST CD 159 (cornerstonerecordsinc.com)

! Formed in 1980 by drummer Barry Elmes

and bassist Al Henderson as a forum for

their compositions, Time Warp became one

of the leading Canadian jazz bands of its era.

Rooted in hard and post-bop, it also integrated

world music materials, including

Asian, African and Latin American

elements. Initially a trio with Bob Brough,

the group added Mike Murley in 1985, giving

it a particular snarl when the two saxophonists both played tenors.

Down to Earth was originally released on cassette, but the rediscovered

original tapes have been restored, remixed and remastered

for this CD.

The compositional emphasis shows in the brevity of the treatments,

with ten tracks packed into 45 minutes, but the concentration intensifies

the music. Henderson and Elmes create masterful grooves,

apparent from the outset on Elmes’ Blue Mustard, a soul jazz demonstration

of the drive of twinned tenor saxophonists. There’s even more

evidence of jazz showing its blues roots on Henderson’s Muddy’s

Blues, complete with mimetic honks and wails from the saxophones.

There’s variety as well, though, with the Japanese undercurrent to

Black Koto, the high-speed bop of Sonny’s Tune and Backlash and

the moody Solar Wind. There’s an added rhythmic complexity to

Nightwing, a slightly Latinate feature for Brough’s alto saxophone, and

Clunker, which brings Henderson and Elmes to the foreground.

Time Warp’s personnel altered through the following years, with

leaders Elmes and Henderson as the constants; their last release, Warp

IX, marked their 20th anniversary in 2000. Cornerstone is currently

reissuing their earlier recordings.

Stuart Broomer


Jim Snidero

Savant Records SCD 2199 (jimsnidero.com)

! On September 10, 2001 alto saxophonist

Jim Snidero could not have predicted what

a trajectory this album would take. Set to

record on September 11 in New York City,

unexpectedly postponed due to the tragic

circumstances, this fine album was originally

released in 2003 and reissued on

September 10, 2021. A lot can happen in

a musician’s career and the world itself in

the span of 20 years but Snidero’s music

remains relevant and touching, depicting the weight of its times.

Originally written and arranged for a jazz quartet and a 10-piece

string ensemble, the reissued version has an added double bass in

the string section and an enhanced sound. I loved the sound of the

strings on this album – lush, expansive, dreamy and all encompassing.

Snidero’s arrangements work very well in all the tunes. The

album showcases six original compositions and two standards, and is

heavy on the ballads. River Suite, comprised of three parts, is especially

captivating. A homage to the Hudson River, this gorgeous music

tells a story of an innermost experience. Absolutely devilish solos by

drummer Bill Drummond and violinist Marc Feldman in the third

part of the suite, Torrent, are whirling with intense energy.

Featured are some memorable solos by the fantastic Renee Rosnes

(piano), Paul Gill (bass) and Tomas Ulrich (cello). Snidero’s sax interacts

with the strings in the most natural way. His solos demand attention

and bring in lyricism to unexpected places. With just a touch of

nostalgia, Snidero’s compositions are sonic evocation of the times

past. You will find Strings incredibly satisfying.

Ivana Popovic

New to the Listening Room

This Issue

Where Words Fail – Music For Healing 35

Margaret Maria

Préludes et Solitudes 36

Marie Nadeau-Tremblay

Beethoven: Violin Sonatas nº 4, 9 & 10 36

Andrew Wan and Charles Richard-Hamelin

Remembering Russia 36

Jesus Rodolfo & Min Young Kang

La Grazia Delle Donne 38

Ensemble la Cigale and Myriam Leblanc

Scarlatti: Essercizi per garvicembalo 39

Hank Knox

Bach au Pardessus de viole 39

Mélisande Corriveau ; Eric Milnes

New Jewish Music, Vol. 3 41

Azrieli Music Prizes

Songbook 47

Dizzy & Fay

Augmented Reality 47

Benjamin Deschamps

Worldview 47


Volume 27 no. 2

Eberhard 51

Lyle Mays

The Space in Which to See 47

Borderlands Ensemble

The Sky’s Acetylene 45

David Fulmer

Mangetsu 39

Duo Della Luna

Unsnared Drum 47

Michael Compitello

Spirits 44

Van Stiefel

American Discoveries 45

Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra

Read the reviews here, then visit


56 | December 2021 thewholenote.com

The new album featuring concert

arias from Mozart, Beethoven,

Haydn and Mysliveček

Available Now



thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 57


Composer Ana Sokolović in conversation continued from page 11

Svadba-Wedding: (from left) Shannon Mercer, Krisztina Szabó, Jacqueline Woodley (the

bride, in front) Carla Huhtanen, Laura Albino, and Andrea Ludwig. Commissioned by

Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, in June 2011 at the Berkeley Street Theatre, Toronto.

porous. A lot of modernists are using extended techniques, which

they borrow from, say, world music, folk, East European or South

American nations, tribe cultures… That would technically make them

post-modernists, no? We can have these conversations. But when I’m

in my creative stage, it’s something I don’t think about. I do what I

feel I have to do – what is urgent for me to do. It’s a necessity, creation.

That’s what guides me.”

So, what to say to those who say contemporary music just doesn’t

grab them? Or to music programmers who give living composers

only the first ten minutes of a two-hour symphonic concert. “OK, but

there are so many contemporary musics,” she counters. “You can’t

decide about the entirety of visual arts by looking at one or two paintings.

The tricky thing about music is, it demands time. It can’t be

compressed or abridged.”

So composers have to open their pieces with clickbaity things, like

newspaper articles? I ask. “Sometimes!” she laughs. “I think more of

us are aware of this demand than we admit.” And composers have

to be aware that they are making music for all kinds of audiences:

specialist, well-informed non-specialist, nonspecialist, and even

hostile. A filled concert hall is always a mix.

Besides, composer is a fairly recent line of work, says Sokolović. “In

a lot of early eras you are always something else – a cantor, an aristocrat’s

entertainer, a singer, an instrumentalist. I find that today a lot

of composers are building their careers in that very old school way. A

lot of them are working musicians, or perform their own pieces, or

write ‘applied’ music for film. It’s a very lively scene.” As a professor

at Université de Montréal who works with a lot of young musicians,

what advice does she give them? “Now this is going to sound

cheesy, sorry! The thing that’s most important to me is that they are

good people. And that does include traditional university fare such

as composition skills, knowledge of history of music, orchestration,

instruments. But I also include in that knowing how to collaborate.

Being aware that you’re not the centre of everything. Knowing that

you’ll have to work with many, many other people, that you’ll have to

write for them. You are in effect never alone. Others will be catalysts

of your music. A lot of us composers say, Well I just write for myself.

Well then, fine, you never have to leave the room and work with other

people. But the job requires the opposite.”

And how much do you want your music to be heard? “That’s the

next question,” she says. “There needs to be a desire to communicate.

Ask yourself, why would anyone want to hear your music? And

to hear it again, and for the third time, and then maybe get the CD?

I’m not talking about the commercial side of things. I’m talking about


What about the notorious Milton Babbitt article “Who cares if you

listen?”, a phrase which haunts contemporary music like phantom

tinnitus? Do composers genuinely want to communicate? “Not all

music is expressive in the same way, nor should it be,”

Sokolović says. “Sometimes you want to create a distance,

and that’s OK. But your piece has to be an event of some

kind. Something must happen. You’re communicating

something of human interest. Something that the person

listening would want to experience again.” We’re all

reacting to our own time, she says, and Babbit reacted to

something in his. That context called for that article, and

those particular words. “Every age has boring music, good

music, all kinds of different music,” she says.

Another tack: Standard gossip of late 20th-century

music is, I venture, that Boulez was the alpha and omega

of French musical life and that unless you were one of

the “Boulez mafia” you could expect your career to be

somewhat complicated. “But in Boulez’s time, someone

like Ligeti existed! He had a different path, while he was

also a modernist. I think Ligeti, unlike numerous other

20th-century composers, is more influential now than in

his own time.” Was he an influence for you? “Yes, and for

many others. Ligeti was hugely important for me, as was

Gérard Grisey. I really feel Grisey’s music.”

Sokolović is one of those composers who happily seek

out the work of their colleagues and students, and is

always curious about what else is happening on the music scene. “Two

of my former students are really interesting, Keiko Deveau and Ofer

Peltz. And I went to Ostrava Days Festival last year and discovered

Czech composer František Chaloupka, who is completely his own.”

How does she explain the international popularity of Claude

Vivier, probably the only Canadian composer regularly performed

abroad these days? “I did not mention him, because it almost goes

without saying, but I adore Vivier’s work. I think Ligeti might have

had something to do with his later rise. One of Ligeti’s students,

Denys Boulianne, great Canadian composer, brought Vivier’s work to

Ligeti’s attention, and it struck Ligeti as important.” What Sokolović

loves about Vivier, she says, is that he found his unique voice. “Vivier

at first wrote dodecaphonic music but then left Canada and went

to Darmstadt to work with Stockhausen, and started composing as

Vivier. He found a way to write his own music. Like many others, he

had to leave his home to find his voice.”


The new Boston Lyric Opera production

of Svadba will be the first cinematic

version of the opera. The three-time

winner of the New York Metropolitan

Opera National Council Auditions, African-

American soprano Chabrelle Williams sings

Milica, who is to be married – it will transpire

– to a woman. Available to stream in

winter 2022.

The COC commission The Old Fools, to

the libretto by Paul Bentley based on Philip

Larkin’s poem, is near completion – give or

take a few months of work on orchestration,

says Sokolović. The verses “Perhaps being

old is having lighted rooms / Inside your

head, and people in them, acting” inspired

this story of an old man near the end of

his life who’s having to move out of his

house into a care home. Sokolović collaborated

on the shaping of the opera, across the

Atlantic, with the original Svadba music

director Dáirine Ní Mheadhra.

Chabrelle Williams

Dáirine Ní Mheadhra,

Queen of Puddings

Music Theatre

Lydia Perović is an arts journalist in Toronto. Send her your artof-song

news to artofsong@thewholenote.com.


58 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com



Dang ROBERT Thai HARRIS Son on the cover of

The WholeNote, vol. 6, no. 5


“The great era of

Canadian pianism”

Reflecting on the

flags we fly



“The final was, he says, ‘Inspiration

upon inspiration. For me there was

nothing to fear. Nobody knew me.

It felt fresh.’”

The quote above is by a Montreal-based winner of the prestigious

Warsaw Chopin Piano Competition, a Canadian citizen since 1995,

reflecting on his victory. But it’s not Bruce Liu, whose stunning

performances in Warsaw won him first prize just a few weeks ago.

It’s Dang Thai Son (one of Liu’s teachers, as it happens), as quoted in

The WholeNote, vol. 6, no. 5, in February 2001, on the occasion of

his first Toronto recital. Born and raised in Vietnam, Dang was resident

in the Soviet Union when he won the Chopin Competition in

1980, and has lived in Montreal since 1991.

On the heels of Bruce Liu’s triumph in

Warsaw, Norman Lebrecht, the resident

scourge and critic of the classical world

through his many books and his popular

blog, Slipped Disc, proclaimed the present

day the “era of the Canadian pianist,”

noting that, with his Warsaw victory, Liu

joins the ranks of Angela Hewitt, Marc-

André Hamelin, Charles Richard-Hamelin,

Norman Lebrecht

Jan Lisiecki and Stewart Goodyear as

players of the first rank on the international

stage. Forget Glenn Gould – for Lebrecht,

this is the great era of Canadian pianism.

Previously, it was Canadian singers that dominated the classical

world, helping us punch above our weight in international musical

circles – the Heppners, Schades, Brauns, Finleys, Pieczonkas,

Bayrakdarians. Within a smaller sample size, we can also note

Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s achievements as one of the great names in

international conducting today.

The question that keeps crossing my mind, though, is this. Should

we Canadians take any particular flag-waving pride in these international

superstars? Is there anything intrinsically Canadian

about them?

With the significance of nationalism as one of the central debates

defining the modern world, it is not an incidental question. One

of the surprises, for me, anyway, of this pandemic, has been the

extent to which, despite the existence of a deadly planetary crisis,

nationalism became a central determining factor in everything –

from pandemic rules, mask mandates, vaccine distribution, infection

rates, likelihood of death. We are all one world, in theory

– until it comes time to get your shot. Then it’s every country for

itself. (The climate emergency is unfolding exactly the same way.)

Paradoxically, we are, as a nation, conflicted about nationalism

in the arts, especially now in our post-nationalist, confused 21st

century, as we try to deal with our odd doubled colonial past, as a

country that was colonizing and colonized at the same time. On the

one hand we are suspicious of national enthusiasms, especially as we

view their more frightening and murderous manifestations around

the world. On the other hand, let’s be honest, the emergence of

cultural nationalism in Canada in the 1970s, which led to everything

from Canadian content rules in the recording industry to Telefilm

Canada to a resurgence of an almost moribund CBC Radio to a

renewed interest in Canadian writing, was one of the great moments

in our cultural history. It led to many Canadian cultural heroes,

one of whom, not to put too fine a point on it, won a Nobel Prize in

Literature – not an insignificant cultural achievement.

So, can we legitimately take similar pride today in the Goodyears,

Lius, Hamelins, Lisieckis and Hewitts of the world? Let me try

to answer that question by shifting the focus from one international

performing arena to another. This year’s US Open Tennis

Championships, the one dominated on the women’s side by the teenagers

Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez raised a a similar

question for me: among the many fascinating correspondences

between the two young women who contested the tournament final

was one generally overlooked –

they both hold Canadian citizenship!

Raducanu was born in

Toronto 19 years ago; Fernandez,

19 years ago in Montreal:

Raducanu to a Romanian

father and a Chinese mother;

Fernandez to an Ecuadorian

father and a Filipina mother.

Raducanu moved to England

when she was two. Fernandez

currently lives in Florida.

How exactly would you parse

either of their nationalities?

I’ll tell you how. Not at all. In

Leylah Fernandez at the US

Open, summer 2021.


60 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com


Bruce Liu

every possible way, these two young women are both modern children

of the 21st century. It seems to me to make almost no sense

whatsoever to talk of their nationality, singular, as though it was

the single defining category in their lives. Nationalities, perhaps.

Nationality, no.

And is the same true of our “Canadian” pianistic superstars?

What would we say is Canadian about them? Anything? They don’t

even all live here. They were not all born here. So in what way, if

any, do their achievements belong to us all?

In two very significant ways, I would say.

First is that for each of them their formative training, and for half

of them, their entire musical training, was done in this country.

Marc-André Hamelin did some post-grad work at Temple University,

as did Charles Richard-Hamelin at Yale, and Stewart Goodyear at

both Juilliard and Curtis; but Hewitt, Lisiecki and Liu were more

or less trained exclusively here. This was also true, by and large, for

the great singers that preceded them. That is an immensely significant

achievement. No longer is Canada merely a hunting ground for

talented young people who are then immediately shipped off to New

York or London or Paris for the bulk of their studies.

Today we have the institutions and expertise, world-class, to do

it here. That is something in which we all can take pride, because

those institutions, in Montreal and Toronto and Calgary and

Vancouver, could not exist unless we all recognized the importance

of being able to have world-class facilities for world-class talent in

our own backyard. That’s a lesson

for us that extends far beyond

classical music.

Second, and just as significantly,

the success of these young

performers demonstrates the

true meaning and success of the

so-often vilified policy of multiculturalism

in our country.

Multiculturalism does not mean

that people from all over the world

come here to have the same opportunity

to enjoy Timbits or shop at

Canadian Tire. Multiculturalism

means that Canada, through its

relative openness to the world, is

a magnet drawing people from all

over the planet, as a place to settle

in, and live, and bring their values

to, and raise children, with the

understanding that the children

they raise, or they themselves, will

sometimes evince musical greatness.

Or medical greatness. Or

financial greatness. Or whatever

other kind of special achievement.

It is that possibility that

attracted Bruce Liu’s parents to

come here, and Jan Lisiecki’s, and

Stewart Goodyear’s and, in a different generation, Angela Hewitt’s.

And Emma Raducanu’s and Laylah Fernandez’s. And hopefully,

many others we don’t know yet. That is something to take pride

in – the extent to which we are capable of creating a welcoming

environment with nothing to fear for these artists of the first rank,

and their families.

That being said, our modern nationalism in this country demands

a lot from us, based as it must be in the future more than a reliable

past, so depriving those of us already here with that sense of changelessness

and security, which everyone yearns for, but which has

not helped us to come to terms with the founding cultures in this

country, steeped in the experience of tens of thousands of years.

Yes, it seems to me that the success of our new “Canadian” piano

superstars is not just accidental, not just a statistical quirk. But on

the other hand, neither is it cause for enormous parochial celebrations

of Canadian “greatness” (as if we were capable of such a thing

outside a hockey arena). Somewhere in between is an elusive but

potentially useful meaning of nationalism today, in the arts and in

the world. Nationalism is real, and can be positive, even necessary,

but only when used with great care.

Robert Harris is a writer and broadcaster on music in all its

forms. He is the former classical music critic of The Globe and Mail

and the author of the Stratford Lectures and Song of a Nation: The

Untold Story of O Canada.Story of O Canada.

For the gift of music, all year long in 2022, consider

a subscription to The WholeNote for yourself,

or for a music-loving friend or both!

One year – 8 editions – delivered right to your

mailbox by Canada Post, for just $64 (plus hst)

The WholeNote | music alive, since 1995 | circulation@thewholenote.com

thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 61

Vol 25 No 8

Vol 25 No 9


Vol 26 No 1

2607_May_cover.in d 1

2608_JulyAugcover.in d 1

2021-05-04 12:32 PM



Previously covered in

The WholeNote,

and topical again

Aline Homzy, in 2018


In this issue: “The Mirvish

season also includes the

return in the spring of

2 Pianos 4 Hands starring

its creators and original

stars, Ted Dykstra and

Richard Greenblatt.”

Jennifer Parr, p 13.

Aline Homzy

Then was April 2018 (Vol 23 No 7) – Sara Constant’s story titled Bitches

Brew Anew - A Conversation with Aline Homzy.

Flash back ten years,

Vol 17 No 3, and you’ll find

Dykstra and Greenblatt in a

very nice Robert Wallace story,

“bringing home arguably the

most successful play in the

history of Canadian theatre …

opening on November 2 [2011]

for a limited run at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre, before it moves to

Ottawa’s National Arts Centre in January”.

The show was already in its 15th season by 2011, featuring

several different duos. “This is their first reunion since 2003”

Wallace writes, “and, according to Greenblatt, probably

their last.”

The hastily arranged photo shoot for the cover reflected the

mood. One of them had a cold, they wanted to get on with

rehearsing; nobody had told them. Five minutes. No time to plug

anything in. They sat down at the piano and mugged. Bravely

but having done this before.

“O.k. I’m done.” The wannabe famous photographer concedes

defeat, and the two look up from the keys with a look of [click!]

release, relief …. gratitude.

Note: the 700-seat Panasonic Theatre of 2011 (now dubbed the

CAA Theatre) is still part of the Mirvish suite of theatres. But it

is to the 2000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre on King St. W. that

Greenblatt and Dykstra will return, March 19 2022, for a tenyears-since-their-last

reunion, further final farewell appearance

together in these roles.

“When violinist Aline Homzy submitted an application to [2018’s]

TD Toronto Jazz Festival Discovery Series for a project called “The

Smith Sessions presents: Bitches Brew,” she had a lot of musical and

linguistic history to reckon with. And when her application was

selected, with a concert of the same name slotted for April 28 at the

Canadian Music Centre’s Chalmers House in Toronto, she knew it

would be a starting point for something new … a quadruple-bill show,

featuring four different women-led ensembles fronted by Homzy,

flutist Anh Phung, bassist Emma Smith and drummer/percussionist

Magdelys Savigne.”

Flash forward three and a half years to November 17 2021 and

Homzy’s focus has shifted again. In Reigniting a musical neighbourhood:

Aline Homzy’s “Sounds of Davenport”, written for The

WholeNote blog, Samantha Fink writes about Homzy’s recent project,

which again digs deep, this time into the music life of her own


Sounds of Davenport, Fink writes, “[is] a virtual concert, featuring

17 performances by 28 musicians from the Toronto Davenport riding,

many of whom belong to the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. From

September 20-22,

2021, the musicians

performed original

music at the Paradise

Theatre, where they

were recorded by

Homzy’s team; on

October 23, these

performances debuted

together in an hourand-a-half-long


compilation available

on YouTube.”

Luanda Jones (R) and Chaveco (L),

performing in Sounds of Davenport.


"Glad to see

you back,"

someone said.

But we don't

subscribe to that

because ...

APRIL 2020





APRIL 2020

Vol 25 No 7






Next season wi l see the first of our regional runout

concerts attached to our main Sudbury season. We

would love for any Northern Ontarians interested in

bringing top-level classical music and musicians

to their communities to contact us.

Even the skeptics have upped their

Zoom game: people I thought

would never turn on their web

cams have fina ly done so.

So in the meanwhile, I have been playing Beethoven and

Debussy on the piano daily. … Witnessing how opera

companies across Canada are dealing with the crisis and

planning for the future. Advocating for inclusion of more artist

voices so that our new reality on the other side of this works for

administrators, as we l as for creators and performers.

I miss the magic when the lights go down

and the curtain rises. I miss the symbiotical

flow of energy between us performers

and our audiences, and yes I even miss the

stress of preparation before.

2507_April20_Cover.in d 1 2020-03-20 12:52 PM


No longer bound by geography,

we have engaged Canadian

solo artists who live abroad

and wouldn’t norma ly be able

to perform with us. We have

also set up a Patreon page so

that people can support us with

sma l monthly contributions.



How May is

& what may be

COVID-19 has brought forward the

tipping point, hastening the creation of

new structures to support the creation

and production of the arts in a different

way than has been the case through

the latter half of the 20th century

to now. Strong developments and

innovation arise in hard times as we

focus on what matters.

We’re optimistic that things

wi l eventua ly return, but it’s

going to take a long while …

Right now, this a l kind o feels

like jazz: we’re improvising …

2508_MayCover.indd 3 2020-04-28 1:36 PM








9 TH Annual TIFF Tips

MUSIC THEATRE Loose Tea on the boil

Once COVID’s in the rearview mirror …

Jazz Studies: the struggle for equity


Concerts, live & livestreamed

Listening Room & record reviews

Columns, stories & interviews


18th annual choral

Canary Pages


21st Annual


2409_JulyCover.indd 1 2020-06-28 6:32 PM


Concerts, live & livestreamed

Listening Room & record reviews

Stories & interviews




2601_Sept20_Cover.in d 1 2020-08-25 1:07 PM


Discoveries along

the Goldberg trail

The intimacy challenge:

falling for dance

In with the new:

adventures in sound art

Choral scene:

lessons from Skagit Valley


Concerts, live & livestreamed

Record reviews & Listening Room

Stories and interviews

2602_OctCover.indd 1 2020-09-23 7:26 PM


Vol 26 No 2

December & January 2020 / 21

Concerts, live and livestreamed

Record reviews & Listening Room

Stories and interviews

Alanis Obomsawin

2020 Glenn Gould Prize Laureate

Beautiful Exceptions Sing-Alone Messiahs

Livingston’s Vocal Pleasures Chamber Beethoven

Online Opera (Plexiglass & A l) Playlist for the

Winter of our Discontent The Oud & the Fuzz

Who is Alex Trebek?

and more


Concerts, live & livestreamed

Record reviews & Listening Room

Stories and interviews

2602_NovCover.in d 1 2020-10-27 8:10 PM


Vol 26 No 3

Volume 26 No 5


Music by date, live and livestreamed

Recordings - 81 recent DISCoveries

Stories & Interviews

SO, how much ground

would a groundhog hog?

Judith Yan, conductor

2604_DecCover.in d 1 2020-12-01 1:42 PM

Vol 26 No 4



Women From Space

Musical Playgrounds

The Virtues of Necessity

Teaching Up Close & Impersonal

When SHHH!! means “Listen!”

… and more

2605_Feb_cover.in d 1 2021-02-03 6:14 PM

Volume 26 No 7


Volume 26 No 6

MARCH 20 TO MAY 7 2021

Music by date, live and livestreamed

Recordings reviewed - 96 recent DISCoveries

Stories, interviews, listening room.


The Makers

Edana Higham

and Zac Pulak

2606_March_cover.in d 1 2021-03-13 8: 2 AM

Volume 26 No 8


Music by date, live and


Recordings reviewed -

101 recent DISCoveries

Stories, interviews,

listening room.

Events by date, live and livestreamed

Stories & interviews

100 recordings reviewed

Listening Room

Volume 27 No 1


2607_May_cover.in d 1 2021-05-04 12:32 PM




Blue pages, orange shirts?

R. Murray Schafer’s

complex legacy?

What makes theatre


Live music: ready or not?

Events by date, live and livestrea

Stories & interviews

100 recordings reviewed

Listening Room

2701_Sept_cover.in d 1


62 | December 2021 and January 2022 thewholenote.com

2021-06-24 6:54 PM



d livestreamed



Volume 27 No 2




Zorana Sadiq

The Midnight Court

2021-09-16 3:45 PM

Music by date, live,

and livestreamed

Record reviews

Stories, interviews

listening room

2702_Nov_cover.in d 1 2021-10-27 10:16 PM

In this issue:

A COC commission titled The

Old Fools, by Ana Sokolović

to a libretto by Paul Bentley is

near completion, Lydia Perović

informs us at the end of a

conversation with Montrealbased

Sokolović about her

opera Svadba. “Sokolović

collaborated on the shaping of

the opera, across the Atlantic,

with the original Svadba music

director [Queen of Puddings

Music Theatre founder/director]

Dáirine Ní Mheadhra,” we

are informed.

Flashback to April 2005: right when Ní Mheadhra and Queen

of Puddings Music Theatre were in the process of putting librettist

Bently and Sokolović together for their first collaboration,

The Midnight Court.

“The Midnight Court, a new Canadian opera by the brilliant

Montreal composer Ana Sokolović, with a libretto by Paul Bently

of The Handmaid’s tale fame and based on a wild and famous

17th century Irish epic poem by Brian Merriman, a rambunctious

and earthy tale ... will premiere at Toronto’s Harbourfront centre

June 11 [2005],” we wrote back then.

Looking back now, Sokolović reflects: “What also made Svadba

so easy to follow is, paradoxically, that it’s in the original language.

When I composed The Midnight Court for Queen of Puddings, I

needed to make the story legible. The pace is decided by the text:

the opera must unfold at the speed of the text, and must follow

our understanding of the text.”

Which direction will Old Fools have taken, we wonder, when eventually

(sooner rather than later, we hope), it comes back into focus.


Then: David Perlman in Vol 20 No4 (Dec 2014), page 12, in a short

piece titled “Survival Guide to the Season’s Messiahs”, writes “I

remember hobnobbing with one of the region’s greatest boosters (and

presenters) of the Messiah, Grand Philharmonic Choir’s former longtime

conductor Howard Dyck in the lobby of the Four Seasons Centre for

the Performing Arts. I think I said something about wondering what the

secret was to the enduring popularity of Handel’s Messiah. As best as I

can remember, his reply in a stage whisper was “It’s the music, stupid!”

And of course he’s right. It’s the music. And more than that, it’s the

music’s ability to shift its shape and the size of its grandeur to accommodate

almost any combination of musical forces – the bigger, the better.

This time last year: we were all variously riffing on the anomaly of

“Sing-alone-Messiahs” …

Now: Will this be remembered as the year of the “Masked Messiahs”

for those of us who dare to sing Hallelujah?

...we never

went away.

Back issues $8

(Cheaper by the dozen!)


thewholenote.com December 2021 and January 2022 | 63

Their first album as a duo,

siblings Sheku & Isata Kanneh-

Mason release ‘Muse’, featuring

a selection of wordless pieces

by Barber and Rachmaninov.

Available Now

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